Sunday, November 21, 2010

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"Never apologize for showing feeling.
When you do so, you apologize for the truth."
-- Benjamin Disraeli

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Emotions in the Brain

The Secret Life of the Brain
Premiered on PBS, Jan. 22, 2002

Monday, August 23, 2010

When Life Becomes Too Heavy:
A Patient's Reflections on Depression
[Reprinted with permission.]

I was shocked to find out that I suffered from depression most of my life. I knew that my experience of abuse was unique but the struggle I have with daily thought, I thought were the normal, private wars everyone was challenged with. I was just not as adept at managing them as everyone else was. After all, I grew up to believe that not much of what I am is worth anything, so why should this trait be any different. I was just one person trying to be the best I could be, with what little I was.

When my first psychologist sent me for evaluation to a psychiatrist, I was aghast at his initial diagnosis. Depression was something other people experienced. I suffered from nightmares and disruptive thoughts of what my father did. I struggled with the things he lead me to believe about myself, those life lessons that are supposed to build your child up to face the world, not the ones that tore me down in a tenacious effort to manipulate me back into his abusive desires. I did not see myself as a victim or someone who suffered with depression. What I saw was a child who told her father no and was now being punished for it.

I believed everything that came to me after that point was the life I deserved. Life was my punishment. Any wrong doing from others, or misfortunes that happened upon me, were a direct result of my disobedience.

I did not understand them to be part of the vicious nature of depression.

Silencing thoughts of a picturesque life was paramount to my survival. Dwelling on what I couldn’t have only made my existence that much harder to bear. I knew that AI could not change the Hand of God by committing suicide (as I have learned, those thoughts lived within another Ego State). I knew that I was to live as I was until the day God decided. The only perceived control I had was that of my thoughts and not allowing them to go to “the happy place”, made the incarceration tolerable until death would bring me freedom.

Life was punishment. Death my freedom. Depression a somewhat manageable disease of the mind. The three didn’t add up.

It wasn’t until the psychiatrist started asking specific question about my past, that I began to see the patterns of my life fitting into the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder. Although I still believed I had no control over how the world interacted with me (I’m still not so sure about it). I just now knew and understood that I had been suffering from depression for many years without having put a label on it.

When a diagnosis becomes personal, it changes meaning. It did not change the core belief that I was being punished but it did offer the chance of some relief while I remained alive. It at least gives me something to work with. It game me some dreaded hope that life would be less of a burden. Like the alcoholic seeking relief, if I could get through y days a little easier by taking a pill, I didn’t think God would mind so much.

I’ve come to understand the cycle of depression very well. It doesn’t make it easier (somewhere within, we still believe we are being punished) but I understand it better. Learning the cyclic changes has helped me to mostly better cope with existence. In fact, some of the Ego States even understand depression to be just what it is and not punishment, although I am not one of them.

My days are filled with murky sadness. Energy is sapped from every parcel of my body like water from a desert. They are days of heavy air making it difficult to take a breath. Each activity is a calculated event, colossal in achievement, yet small in size. Getting up from where I breathe to get a drink. Grasping the remote control to change the channel. Finding words to speak. I thought I was a procrastinator but it turns out differently.

Depression is a cruel master.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Power of Self-Talk

Our thoughts affect our feelings. Our feelings affect our actions. Our consistent actions affect our future. Nonetheless, most of the time, the majority of us are unaware of exactly what we our inner voice is telling us, at any given moment. And, most of our self-talk is NOT 100% true. Understanding the nature of our self-talk is an invaluable first step toward real, empowered change.

I highly recommend Dr. Harriet Braiker’s 1989 “Power of Self-Talk” article, which appeared in Psychology Today magazine. I actually share it with each of my new patients. It is a concise overview of an aspect of a commonly used approach in counseling, namely "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy." The early beginnings of CBT was independently developed by renowned American psychologist, Dr. Albert Ellis and psychiatrist Dr. Aaron T. Beck. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was also popularized by Dr. David Burns' 1980 book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.

Dr. Braiker's article is hosted as a .doc file by UCLA here:

Sunday, June 13, 2010 hosts ideas worth sharing!
"Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Cycle of Personal Change

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Do You Have an Idea for the Pepsi Refresh Project?

Throughout 2010, the Pepsi Company is giving away $20 Million Dollars! Each month, 1000 winners will be chosen for cash prizes ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. All entries must relate to community service.

Register your idea HERE!

While visiting the Give-A-Way site, throughout July, consider voting for my IDEA:
Help Promote
Psychologist's FREE Hypnosis MP3 to Quit Smoking!

If my idea is one of the 32 selected throughout July, I will receive $5,000 to help promote!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Michael Moore's 2007 movie: Sicko

WATCH the entire video online!
Click to read about the legal precedent that permits
the offering of the above FREE screening.

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MPAA Rating: PG-13

According to, Michael Moore's controversial "Sicko" is a documentary comparing the highly profitable American health care industry to other nations, and HMO horror stories. According to, "Sicko" received a standing ovation, during its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature. Sicko was further commended in the Australian Film Critics Association 2007 Film Award for Best Documentary. "Sicko" was released and distributed by The Weinstein Company.

According the the National Coalition on Health Care, nearly 46 million Americans, or 18 percent of the population under the age of 65, were without health insurance in 2007. Despite the fact that 80% of Americans do have healthcare insurance, "Sicko" claims that many of those Americans do not realize that they actually have costly, inadequate coverage. With all of the recent increase in emphasis upon national healthcare reform, I would also like to offer the following sobering reminders. I agree with my state representative Phyllis Mundy's (D - PA) statement that "free market principles and competition are not more important than the people's access to affordable health insurance." According to the American Psychological Association's Dr. Lynn Bufka, "Physical and mental health are inextricably linked, as in the case with heart health and stress." Harvard Medical School's Dr. Herbert Benson is also renowned for having observed that "Sixty to ninety percent of visits to physicians are for conditions related to stress."


Monday, April 26, 2010

Scientific American describes the world as part of a "Holographic Universe"

Click HERE.
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As you read the Scientific American article,
consider some of the ideas conveyed within "The Secret" and Dr. Wayne Dyer's notions of "Power of Intention."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Finding Happiness within a Distressed Economy

According to the former president of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Martin Seligman, “our economy is rapidly changing from a money economy to a satisfaction economy." Well before Seligman's observation, however, the Amish seem to have understood the importance of this emphasis. The Amish lifestyle represents a subculture within American society that is the antithesis of capitalism. Amazingly, it is suggested that their departure from Americana actually contributes to their overall level of happiness. In recent years, author Jonah Lehrer has highlighted the fact that the Amish’s rates of depression are more than ten fold lower than the rest of the American population.
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The Amish appear to place more emphasis upon the depth, quality and nature of their relationships. Within the Amish community, for example, if a neighbor’s roof is damaged in a storm, the community is likely to arrive the next day to volunteer its assistance with the repairs. Sadly, within American society, many people do not even know their neighbors. Perhaps a simple restructuring of priorities can help Americans to find their happiness within a distressed economy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Many Smokers Have Depression

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Read the Los Angeles Times' article about the surprising association between smoking and depression HERE!


Sunday, April 4, 2010



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