Do We Have To Be Honest With Children?

My school-age grandson was filled with the importance of the story he was telling me. He paused as someone flew a paper airplane over our heads and their mother had to put a stop to that. She made a remark; I made another one back, and before you knew it, my grandson’s conversation got derailed. “Gram!” He said, with a note of irritation in his voice, “you aren’t listening to me!” It is right here that we all have a choice to make. Do we protect our egos or take a hit? “You are right!” I replied, “I am so sorry. Go on with what you were saying.” Here are some wrong choices: “Can’t you see I’m talking to mommy?” “Oh, all right. What did you want?” (irritated tone) The worst choice, of course, is to not even hear him, to not notice his existence and just go on as if he weren’t there. How many of you are guilty of any of those? What these last three options all do is de-value the person in his own eyes. You see, to a child, your view of the world, is like God’s view. They don’t have a concept of questioning and critical thinking yet. They certainly may – and will – object to mistreatment, but they don’t know why they’re objecting. They don’t realize that YOU have actually done something wrong and that they have been ignored, dismissed, invalidated, and minimized. So instead of realizing YOU mistreated them, your response holds up to them a mirror of who they are. That’s not good because in this case the mirror...

Book Review: You Can Feel Good Again (For Depression)

A fellow therapist recommended Richard Carlson’s book, You Can Feel Good Again: Commonsense Strategies For Releasing Unhappiness and Changing Your Life. I had asked her because she is a sex therapist and a couple I was seeing had a particular sexual issue. They did not want to change therapists, so I searched out the best possible advice that I was aware of. Instead of some complicated, family-of-origin work, which is what I expected, she recommended a book which falls into the Cognitive Behavioral approach. Now, here is the interesting part, before I get into the details of this book. The book is really targeted at combating depression and I told a client to read it whose depression didn’t seem to want to leave her. She read it and perkily texted me that she was doing fine and happy. So, whatever negatives I will say about this book — and there was really only one — I recommend it. I recommend it for –obsessive thoughts –depression –self-punishing thoughts –low self-esteem Highlights The author’s premise is that we control our thoughts. Thus, any negative thoughts we have are of our own invention and ought to have zero power over us. That makes complete sense to me and is in line with my work (which says that feelings are within our control because they begin with thoughts. On the other hand one of his points is that if you happen to be depressed, don’t think because that will make things worse. A wonderful point is that we are all capable of healthy thinking. In fact, before being messed up by adults, children...

Stress Can Change Our Genes

In my last blog post reviewing Marc Lewis’ book, Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs, I indicated that our brains, with all their neuronal and chemical intricacy, appear to respond to a higher authority than just chemistry. There seems to be a “self” or a “soul” which may alter the direction of an addiction–or other behavior. That is good news for all of us. It means that when we are depressed, anxious, or even addicted, there is an “I” that can come to our rescue. That is the message I have been presenting throughout my website, starting many years ago before there were blogs. I indicated at the end of that post that there was a second piece of evidence to support my proposition. Let me digress for a moment to set the groundwork for what I am about to share with you. Lemark’s Theory of Use and Disuse                   When I took high school biology (a very long time ago) we learned that there was a scientist called Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1809 who preceded Charles Darwin. Lamarck had a theory of “use and disuse” which said that characteristics that animals use get somehow incorporated into their genes and can therefore be passed down to their offspring, while unused characteristics get genetically dropped. The theory was rejected and we students laughed at such quaint ideas. Well, we can stop laughing. Researchers across the country and throughout the world are studying the field of epigenetics. This includes the effects of what are called epigenetic markers. This is the science of noting which genes are...

The Soul Behind The Brain

When depression hits, what do you do? When your Life Partner is not good enough to chase away the anxiety, what do you do? When past, black predictions by parents or others of your future failure, haunt your thoughts, what do you do? Well, of course, you blame your anxiety, depression, and self-hatred on a “chemical imbalance.” You claim that your present state is inherited and your only solution must be chemical. There are two new pieces of evidence to disprove that which will, hopefully, help you out of that pit of doubt that sends you pill-searching, either legitimately or illegitimately. People who suffer so intensely from depression and anxiety that they absolutely can’t handle one more minute of it often turn to prescription medication or illegal drugs to get them through the pain. The first piece I would like to share with you is a new book by Marc Lewis called Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs. A Neuroscientist Studies His Addicted Brain         What is different in this book from all the other chronicles of addiction and recovery is the fact that Lewis happened to have been a doctoral student in psychology, specializing in neuropsychology when he finally escaped the chains of his addiction, so the book is sprinkled liberally with explanations of how the amygdala and the anterior cingulate cortex work, things you’ve seen discussed before in this blog. But there’s more to it than that. There is a point—after losing a marriage; after many thefts during the night; after Lewis is finally caught and faces jail time; after being...

If It’s Not A “Chemical Imbalance,” What Is It?

REPRINTED BY PERMISSION from FLorida Jewish News We take medicine to feel better, right? If we, God forbid, are diabetic and diet can’t get it under control, we can take medicine for it. For a headache, have an acetaminophen. For a tricky ticker, there’s an array of cardio meds your doctor will prescribe. For depression, just pop that happiness pill. Hold on. Not so fast, there, partner. You don’t want to pop that happiness pill unless you want to be married to it for the rest of your life. Here’s a biological rule: When your body notices the presence of a substance in it, it says to itself, “Oh, here’s some endorphin (or thyroid stimulating hormone, or whatever), so I don’t have to produce any of it.” In other words, the more you put in from the outside, the less your body will produce. Chicken and Egg Problem Now you’re going to be quick to tell me that I’ve got it backwards, that your body wasn’t producing the substance in the first place and that’s why your doctor prescribed it for you. Well, yes, and no. You’re right that your body wasn’t producing it at the moment. Remember, you came in to get some help with depression (or anxiety or whatever), so of course your body wasn’t—at that point in time—producing the chemicals that would be flowing freely if you were happy. But which came first? Were you unhappy because the chemicals for happiness just weren’t there in your body—as the pharmaceutical companies have spent billions trying to convince medical doctors and psychologists so that they can convince their...
Show Buttons
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkdin
Hide Buttons