• Do the emotional paper-cuts hurt the worst?
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    When truly bad things happen, they cross a threshold, triggering mechanisms that help us to recover. To use one of Gilbert’s examples: if a woman discovers her husband has been having an affair, she may draw on all her powers of rationalisation, convincing herself it was something he had to get out of his system, or that it’s a crisis from which they’ll emerge stronger. By contrast, if his only fault is leaving dirty dishes in the sink, her cognitive defences won’t kick in. So her anger at the lesser failing may bubble longer.

    This isn’t how we think suffering works: we assume that the bigger the trauma, the more enduring the distress. But the Gilbert study shows that assumption is often false: participants recovered faster from an insult directed at themselves (a relatively major event) than from witnessing one directed at someone else. People severely affected by terror attacks, some experts argue, can suffer less long-term trauma than those less affected.

    The full article pretty much stands on its own as an explanation of why the way the toilet seat is left annoys us so much.

    But, it’s also worth noting that this is really the foundational explanation as to why terrorism works. Relative to the entire population, nearly no one in the entire United States was hurt, killed or lost a loved one in 9/11. But, the breathless repetition of and focus upon that attack from the media ensures that the general population is being repeatedly traumatized and has nearly no defenses against such.

    In other words, terrorism only works if the victims of such are willing to tolerate a media keeping them in FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Despair.)

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  • What defines a successful marriage?
    4 Comments on What defines a successful marriage?

    Business Insider

    To err is human, Gottman says, but to repair is divine.

    “The thing that all really good marriages and love relationships have in common is that they communicate to their partner a model that when you’re upset, I listen,” he says. “The world stops, and I listen. And we repair things. We don’t let things go. We don’t leave one another in pain. We talk about it, and we repair.”

    That’s where gentleness comes in.

    “In really good relationships, people are very gentle with the way they come on about a conflict,” Gottman says. “They don’t bare their fangs and leap in there; they’re very considered.”

    For example, he says: “Instead of pointing their finger and saying, ‘You asshole!,’ they say, ‘Hey babe, it’s not a big deal, but I need to talk about it and I need to hear from you.’ In bad relationships, it’s, ‘You’re defective, and you need therapy.'”

    In this way, the most effective repairs rely on making emotional connections rather than scoring intellectual victories. An effective repair doesn’t come from analyzing a problem and being right about it, Gottman says. Instead of turning it into a debate and telling them that they’re wrong, you report how you feel.

    Ok, firstly, the above linked article’s claim that this guy is America’s top marital therapist is laughable — but he’s certainly America’s top self promoter among marriage therapists… (The real title goes to researchers like Archibald Hart and family systems specialists like William J. Doherty.)

    But, he’s got a really solid point here.

    Those who live by the sword do tend to die by it — especially in marriage…

    And, a soft answer does really turn away wrath.

    Far too few of the people who walk into the marriage counselor’s offices in North America seem to grasp this point — and, there’s pretty good research suggesting that’s, in fact, WHY they are walking in there in first place.

    Yes, it’s that pivotal…

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  • Understanding semi-permanent birth control
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    Huffington Post

    If you’ve considered birth control over the past few years, chances are you’ve had at least one friend wax enthusiastic about an intrauterine device, or IUD. The method, which is the most effective reversible form of contraception on the market, has grown exponentially in popularity over the last decade, despite low national rates.

    There’s now even a small sub-genre of personal essay related to choosing IUDs, ranging from testimonials to tales of medical misadventure.

    Laura MacIsaac, M.D., an ob-gyn and director of the Family Planning Division at Beth Israel Hospital in New York, says that she’s noticed a big uptick in women asking about and selecting IUDs. That’s partially through word of mouth — women recommending them to friends (or writing about them on the Internet) — but it’s also related to a shifting demographic among doctors: A generation ago, most ob-gyns were men, but now, according to MacIsaac, 80 percent of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists fellows under 40 are women. And 40 percent of female gynecologists who use contraception choose the IUD, compared with just 6 percent of the general population of women.

    The full article is a simple, no frills assessment of the various types of IUDs out there — one of the few forms of birth control that is teen proof. (That is, it doesn’t place you in the position of expecting an inherently irresponsible and obviously omniscient creature to responsibly take a pill daily…)

    It’s not politically correct to post this. It certainly doesn’t fit with the ideals of abstinence most evangelical circles promote. IUDs have been aggressively subjected to a smear campaign as causing abortion (THEY DO NOT!!!) and, like every other form of birth control, wrongly regarded as encouraging promiscuity.

    Frankly, no one really wants to even have to think about the reality of their child going into teen rebellion + promiscuity — fewer yet want to think about the consequences of such. We would just like it to go away…

    Yet, the failure to think honestly and then act proactively so often means that what would normally be a few years of teen melodrama can sometimes end up as a lifetime of poverty, relational heartache and a second generation of children most likely doomed to the same.

    Ideals are good, healthy choices are even better and encouraging children to save themselves for the one person who will be with them, “As long as they both shall live,” is an excellent and beautiful idea — but it can’t come at the expense of common sense and pragmatism when a teen decides to pursue anything but.

    (And, no, it doesn’t prevent STIs any more then the pill does — but refusing a solution because it only fixes half of the problem isn’t exactly the definition of wisdom…)

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  • YOU – drop those pajamas and step towards the bed!!!
    1 Comment on YOU – drop those pajamas and step towards the bed!!!


    Scientific studies show sleeping naked has enough health benefits to make people think twice before reaching for those coveted pajama shorts or fuzzy flannels ever again.

    According to several research efforts, sleeping naked has health benefits ranging from the prevention of diabetes to lowered belly fat; shedding clothes before sleep can also increase the body’s anti-aging hormones, help you sleep deeper and longer, decrease vaginal bacteria and improve sex lives.

    Turns out, 90 percent of Americans – the amount reporting to never sleep in the nude – are really missing out.

    The full article expands on:

    Better and Deeper Sleep

    Increased Anti-Aging Hormones

    Less Stress, Less Fat

    Lowered Risk of Diabetes

    Healthier Parts

    Improved Sex

    As much as I hate to link to what is nothing more then a source article spam, the above linked is very true, really well written and so worth reading.

    But they missed one: Not having massive fights in front of your therapist about his/her, “Flannel armor.”

    (Yes, really. I’ve seen that one more times then I can count…)

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  • Is someone you love in need of an intervention?
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    Psychology Today


    Confrontational methods are practiced nowhere else in the world—for good reason. Interventions are deeply humiliating. They imply a moral and psychological superiority among those staging the intervention. They remove a person’s autonomy, and removing the opportunity for choice is thoroughly dehumanizing. They deflate a person’s already deflated sense of self. Further, interventions also induce shame, guilt—feelings that actually reduce the likelihood of change.

    In 2007, psychologist William Miller and consultant William White reported that “decades of research have failed to yield a single clinical trial showing efficacy of confrontational counseling, whereas a number have documented harmful effects.” Those harmful effects? Interventions actually increase dropout rates from treatment programs and precipitate more and faster relapse.

    Interventions generally rest on a series of mistaken beliefs about drinking and about how people change. One mistaken assumption is that a person would never stop drinking on her own, most likely because of a pathological personality—when, in fact, government data show that three quarters of alcoholics recover without professional help. Another mistaken assumption is that drinkers are always defensive about their problem, so that gentler methods of approach would never work. Interventions rest on mistaken assumptions that everyone knows better than the drinker what she is doing—in fact, there is the assumption that the drinker is out of touch with reality and deluded about the nature of her “problem.” The implication that others are authorities on the drinker and on drinking compounds the humiliation of this method.

    Research clearly points to a better approach that evokes and beefs up a person’s own motivation for change. Motivational interviewing is one such approach. it’s gentler, more empathic—more in keeping with established knowledge about how people change.

    The above linked article is just another voice in the growing backlash finally emerging against 1930’s addiction treatments that still just won’t go away — and it virtually stands on it’s own. Read it!

    This would be a little of why we never got into beating up on clients, shipping them off into 12 step programs, staging the emotionally abusive free-for-all most like to refer to as, “An intervention,” or in whatever way buying into Try-Harder-Religion.

    Whenever you subject anyone to shame, fear or guilt, you take even the very best parts of the person and point them towards escape from such. Almost always, escape = addiction.

    If there isn’t a better way than that, then counseling would not be worth getting and, frankly, this career would not be worth pursuing either.

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  • How to have the best sex ever!
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    Psych Central

    less than five percent of singles between the ages of 25 and 59 have sex two to three times a week, while a quarter of married folks are beating the single record five times over. A whopping 61 percent of singles reported that they hadn’t had sex within the past year, compared with 18 percent of married people.

    The belief that singles have more and better sex than marrieds has become a cultural myth that researchers and sociologists are finding to be untrue, and coming up with some hard evidence to substantiate this claim. While the single life is glamorized on film and on TV, the reality underlying the entertainment media’s portrayal of “the good life? is, for many people a far cry from the picture painted by Hollywood, both in quantity and quality.

    The prevailing view for the majority of Americans is that once you’re married, sex gets routine and boring, and because it’s not so exciting any longer, the frequency falls off. The reality is that for the majority of singles, sex tend to be sporadic, infrequent, or for some, non-existent. There are of course some singles who are experiencing more abundant and pleasurable sexual activity than they ever did in their marriage, or even in their lives, but contrary to commonly held-beliefs, these people are in the minority, not the majority of the population.

    Bill Maher is famous for the parting shot he tagged onto his rant about gay marriage:

    …for the record, all marriages are “same sex? marriages. You get married, and every night, it’s the same sex.?

    Thankfully, he’s wrong.

    The best sex is found in getting and then staying married.

    And, if it isn’t for you, then, don’t dump the marriage, get help and fix it!!!

    (Note: The top link leads to a Psych Central page which contains a slightly-erotic image. It may still be considered not safe for work or your heart by some…)

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  • Are we training our grads NOT to think?
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    …the crisis in American education may be more than a matter of sliding rankings on world educational performance scales.

    Our kids learn within a system of education devised for a world that increasingly does not exist.

    To become a chef, a lawyer, a philosopher or an engineer, has always been a matter of learning what these professionals do, how and why they do it, and some set of general facts that more or less describe our societies and our selves. We pass from kindergarten through twelfth grade, from high school to college, from college to graduate and professional schools, ending our education at some predetermined stage to become the chef, or the engineer, equipped with a fair understanding of what being a chef, or an engineer, actually is and will be for a long time.

    We “learn,? and after this we “do.? We go to school and then we go to work.

    This approach does not map very well to personal and professional success in America today. Learning and doing have become inseparable in the face of conditions that invite us to discover.

    More and more voices are standing up and saying the above. It’s good to hear.

    Sadly, few of them are teachers and almost none of them are education system administrators.

    Because, they too have been educated to repeat a performance — and if the game is no longer about that performance, then their jobs are on the line for the performance is all they know.

    Problem is, those who only know the performance are still the ones in control of the training of teachers and appointing those administrators. Administrators who, in turn, lobby politicians for standardized testing (on mostly meaningless facts) that demands sitting under people willing to offer that performance to pass.

    The above voices? They are voices of truth — but their voices don’t matter.

    If only there were a rose colored lining to this…

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  • Does your brain need training?
    3 Comments on Does your brain need training?

    Psych Central

    In a society that glorifies brain-related companies such as Lumosity, it’s important to note that while their goal is moral, their process is inherently flawed.

    As an Integrative Neuroscience major at Binghamton University, I can understand why parents and children alike fall for the tempting ways to enhance your brain’s functioning. After all, it’s no secret that as we begin to age, our memory and other senses begin to fade gradually and sometimes rather abruptly. Nevertheless, the market for these brain-training websites is alive and thriving.

    I see so many clients wasting their time and money on this sort of scam — often even promoted by medical professionals and other therapists.

    Meanwhile, no one is reading a book, debating philosophy over drinks with a friend, exploring issues of faith with a spiritual director or simply exercising hard.

    Things that would actually train your brain…

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  • Can you MAKE someone fall in love with you?
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    In 2010 the psychological researcher Arthur Aron (and four other authors) released the results of their study which asked if an intimate connection between two newly acquainted people could be created simply by causing them to become incrementally more vulnerable with each other by way of answering a series of thirty-six increasingly personal questions.

    It finally got noticed by the mainstream media this week

    These are the questions:

    Set I

    1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

    2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

    3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

    4. What would constitute a “perfect? day for you?

    5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

    6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

    7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

    8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

    9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

    10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

    11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

    12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

    Set II

    13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

    14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

    15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

    16. What do you value most in a friendship?

    17. What is your most treasured memory?

    18. What is your most terrible memory?

    19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

    20. What does friendship mean to you?

    21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

    22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

    23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

    24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

    Set III

    25. Make three true “we? statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “

    26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

    27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

    28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

    29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

    30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

    31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

    32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

    33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

    34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

    35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

    36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

    What’s really interesting is that it took this long and that, considering the hundreds of books out there for couples filled with questions to ask each other, it’s even worth mention.

    Close relationships are always built upon a stable, growing, two-way and very personal risking of self disclosure. Nearly any list of questions can go a long way in terms of cutting through the fear and normalizing even asking. It forces two people to stop and take the risk that vulnerability always is.

    So, start with the above — then hit up any bookstore and pick a couple-questions book themed towards the areas you want to explore.

    Closeness is NOT innate — it’s built.

    One question at a time.

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  • Tired of procrastinating?
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    Procrastinators, take note: If you’ve tried building self-discipline and you’re still putting things off, maybe you need to try something different. One new approach: Check your mood.

    Often, procrastinators attempt to avoid the anxiety or worry aroused by a tough task with activities aimed at repairing their mood, such as checking Facebook or taking a nap. But the pattern, which researchers call “giving in to feel good,” makes procrastinators feel worse later, when they face the consequences of missing a deadline or making a hasty, last-minute effort, says Timothy Pychyl (rhymes with Mitchell), an associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and a researcher on the topic.

    Increasingly, psychologists and time-management consultants are focusing on a new strategy: helping procrastinators see how attempts at mood repair are sabotaging their efforts and learn to regulate their emotions in more productive ways.

    What the research is saying can actually be simplified down to one simple statement:

    Procrastination is simply an addiction to feeling better about the present which results in doing nothing.

    An addiction is a pathological relationship with a mood altering experience (Carnes). In this case, a person forms a bent way of meeting his or her needs by mentally soothing the self with the idea that a task will be done later to avoid feeling discomfort in the here and now.

    And, if you want to fix it, stop trying to run away from the discomfort.

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