Don E. Gibbons, Ph.D., NJ Licensed Psychologist #03513
This Blog is published for information and educational purposes only. No warranty, expressed or implied, is furnished with respect to the material contained in this Blog. The reader is urged to consult with his/her physician or a duly licensed mental health professional with respect to the treatment of any medical or psychological condition.

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The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC

The New Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, LLC, is located at 675 Route 72 E Manahawkin, NJ 08050. Telephone us at(609)709-2043 and (609) 709-0009.Take Mill Creek Road South, just off Route 72, on the road to Beach Haven West.After about 400 feet, turn right into the office complex of Greater Coastal Realty. Then turn right and go past the Lyceum Gyn. Continue on to the Prudential Zack Building. We. are the last office at the end. We accept Medicare and most other major insurance.Weekend and evening office hours are avalable.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

How to Keep Your Boss from Driving You Crazy

The boss yelled at you today and it made you angry. Why did he do it?
  • Maybe your boss and his wife are getting a divorce.
  • Maybe his kids are on drugs.
  • Maybe he just got arrested for drunk driving.
  • Maybe something else is wrong that is even worse.
If your boss really had accused you of something that was false, of course you need to speak up. But why did it make you angry?
  • You could have thought that he was out to get you and felt afraid.
  • You could have thought that it was a personal put-down and felt hurt.
  • You could even have thought that he was making a fool of himself and felt amused.
If your boss has a personality disorder, or is out to get you for other reasons, you may need to cultivate beliefs that help you to conquer anxiety and perform at your best.

You might also need to replace beliefs which lead to exaggerated feelings of self-importance, self-blame, or self-pity.

Self-Importance:
  • "Whenever anybody raises their voice to me, it is an attack on my personal worth."
  • "I secretly believe that everything should always go my way."
  • "My boss is one hundred percent wrong, and I am one hundred percent right."
  • "I always have to have my boss's approval in order to feel OK."
  • "If my boss started it, I am justified in pushing it to the limit, even if it costs me my job and a good reference."
Self-Blame:
  • No one makes you psychologically depressed. You do that by the things you say to yourself.
  • You are not worthless even if important people in your life reject you.
  • Doing badly never makes you a bad person — only imperfect.
  • You have a right to be wrong.
  • Guilt is created in two steps: a) You do something bad and b) you decide you're awful.
  • Never blame yourself for anything. Instead, admit your responsibility for wrongdoing.
  • Self-blamers are grandiose in the sense that they judge themselves more harshly than they judge others who commit similar errors.
  • You can always forgive yourself since you are a) imperfect b) ignorant or c) disturbed.
  • Separate the rating of your behavior from the rating of your self.
Self-Pity:
  • You don't have to have everything you want. The world was not made just for you.
  • Not getting your way is only disappointing or sad—not the end of the world.
  • Count your blessings. You have put up with disappointments all your life; you can tolerate this one too.
Also, both you and your boss might be in the habit of seeing things in ways which make them look worse than they actually are. Trying to see both sides may lead to a better understanding. Cutting your boss some slack can also leave the door open for an apology. And, if your boss really is out to get you, at least it may give you some time to look for another job.

The most important thing, however, is that you are in control of your own emotional reactions, and these come from your own beliefs and values. This is the secret to something you can change -- although it may occasionally require the services of a trained psychologist, counselor, or social worker in order to help you to complete the process.


 

False Perceptions that are Driving You Crazy

Most of us have one or more habits of perceiving things which make them appear to be much worse than they actually are. See how many of these thought patterns might be clouding your own view of life..

All-or-nothing thinking: Everything is good or bad, with nothing in between. If your opponent is not perfect, then he or she is completely evil..

Over generalization: A single negative event turns into a never-ending pattern of defeat. "My opponent didn't support the bill I wanted. My opponent is never going to do anything right."

Mental filter: One single negative thing about your opponent colors everything else. When you're depressed about this, it sometimes feels like you're "looking at the world through mud-colored glasses."

Disqualifying the positive: If somebody says something good about your opponent, it doesn't count. But if somebody says something bad about your opponent, you "knew it all along."

Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation of your opponent's claims, even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.

Mind reading: You think that your political opponent is thinking negative things about one your favorite programs and don't bother to check it out. You just assume that this is true.

The Fortune Teller Error: You think that things are going to turn out badly if your opponent is elected to office, and when it happens you convince yourself that it's the end of the world.
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Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization: Imagine that you're looking at the opposition candidates through a pair of binoculars. You might think that any mistake they made or is more important than it really is. Now imagine that you've turned the binoculars around and you're looking through them backwards. Something a candidate you favor has done might look less important than it really is,

Emotional reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: "I feel it, therefore it must be true."

Should statements: You beat up on yourself as a way of getting motivated to do something. You"should" have done this, you "must" do this, you "ought" to do this to do your part to influence the outcome of the election, and so on. This doesn't make you want to do it, it only makes you feel guilty. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.

Labeling and mislabeling: This is an extreme form of over generalization. When the other candidate makes a mistake,you give him or her a label, such as, "a loser" or "He's an ass." Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.

Personalization: You believe that your vote was the cause of something bad that happened, when, among all the millions of votes cast, your own vote really didn't have very much to do with it.


How to Regulate Your Behavior SCIENTFICALLY!

The folks at www.smart recovery.org, have developed a method for changing the beliefs which guide our lives which is based on Albert Ellis's Rational Emotive Behavior TherapyTheir free downloadable  ABC Worksheet can become your daily companion for taking control of your life in matters large and small. You can use it to make motivational and behavioral adjustments on everything from paying your bills on time, to stopping smoking, or deciding on which career path to follow. (If you don't have the necessary Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it free of charge.)

It first asks you about the causes of something you would like to change in your life, and then asks about the emotional consequences which were the unpleasant result, your beliefs about what happened, what beliefs could be substituted for the ones which brought about the unpleasant result, and how those changed beliefs make you feel. You can write on the form itself, clearing and changing it as often as you like. Then, when you are finished, you can either print it out or save it as a text file, using a different form for each problem you would like to work on. To re-examine it or re-do each form that you have completed, just call up that particular file and continue to modify it as you progress.



There are several other helpful aids to life management in their tools and homework and articles and essays sections.









Activities Which Help You Get off the Merry-Go-Round

"The world is so full of such a number of things,
I am sure we should all be as happy as kings."
                       --Robert Louis Stevenson
The following list of activities, based on the one at at www.smartrecovery.org, can serve as a starting point for getting off the merry-go-round of loneliness, anxiety, lethargy, depression, and despair. You can use this list of activities as a springboard for suggesting others. They can also strengthen the bond between you and one your friends when you do them together. As much as possible, surround yourself with positive, upbeat people -- and get moving!

• ACADEMIC PURSUITS (Self-help Books, Workshops, Lectures, Skills-learning, Career Development).
• CHORES AND USEFUL TASKS (such as Cleaning, Cooking, Dishwashing, Ironing, Sewing).
• EXERCISES (such as Jogging, Nautilus, Walking, Aerobic Dancing, Stretching orAerobic Exercises, Shadow Boxing, Skipping Rope, Yoga, Weightlifting).
• FOOD ACTIVITIES (such as Baking, Cooking, Barbecuing, Preparing Gourmet Meals, Shopping for Food).
• GAMES (such as Bridge, Checkers, Chess, Go, Jigsaw Puzzles, Monopoly, Poker, Online games, Scrabble, Crosswords, Anagrams).
• GRAPHIC ARTS (such as Cartooning, Drawing, Lettering, Mechanical Drawing, Painting, Photography, Silkscreening).
• HANDICRAFT ACTIVITIES (such as Basketmaking, Bookbinding, Crocheting, Embroidering, Knitting, Leatherworking, Dressmaking, Decoupage, Needlepoint).
• HUMOROUS ACTIVITIES (such as Cartooning, Improvisation Games, Charades, Jesting, Joke-making, Playing Practical Pranks and Jokes, Punning).
•MARTIAL ARTS (Akido, Jujitsu, Judo, Karate, Fencing, Wrestling).
• OUTDOORS ACTIVITIES AND SPORTS (such as Birdwatching, Gardening, Crabbing, Fishing, Canoeing, Sailing, Hunting, Walking, Ice-skating, Skiing, Rowing, Hiking).
• PERFORMING ARTS (such as Dancing, Ballet, Mime, Acting, Improvisation, Modern Dance, Tap Dance, Singing).
• READING (Fiction, Novels, Plays, Poems, Nonfiction).
• SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITIES (such as Anatomy, Biology, Herpetology, Physics, Medicine, Zoology, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology).
• SOCIALIZING (Conversing, Group Activities, Attending or Giving Parties, Rap Sessions).
• SPECTATING (watching Movies, Plays, Sports, Pageants, Circuses).
• SPORTS (such as Baseball, Basketball, GQlf, Gym, Football, Hockey, Dancing, Tennis, Skating, Running, Volleyball).
• STUDYING ACADEMIC SUBJECTS (such as Art History, History, Language, Math, Music, Science, Social Science).
• TRADES AND CRAFTS (such as Bricklayer, Builder, Carpenter, Foreman, Factory Worker, Gardener, Mechanic, Machinist, Police Officer).
• VENTING FEELINGS (such as Punching Pillows, Yelling, Talking, Writing, Expressing Good Feelings).
See also the book by R. Schwartz, and E. Braff entitled, We're no fun anymore: Helping couples cultivate joyful marriages through the power of play. New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2012.

Additional Links Which May be Helpful:

Albert Ellis has put together a list of false beliefs that are driving you crazy because they set us up for failure and disappointment ahead of time. They are all false, but many of us are inclined to at least occasionally believe some of them. Take a look at this list and see if you are inclined to agree with any of them, at least part of the time. You can get rid of these irrational ideas by recognizing and eliminating them.



 A Greek philosopher once said, "Men are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them." This is a list of false perceptions that are driving you crazy. See how many of these thought patterns might be clouding your own view of the world, by causing you to look at life "through mud-colored glasses." If you are inclined to look at things this way yourself, once you recognize that they are not accurate, you can get rid of them, too.





How to be More "Therapieutic" for your Family and Friends

Most of the actual "therapy" that is done in the world is carried on between close friends, romantic partners, family members, and co-workers, who provide understanding and emotional support to those around them while serving as a good listener and helping them to look at things in a more positive light. In clinical settings, family systems theorists point out that the "identified patient" who comes for counseling or psychotherapy may not be the one who actually needs it, but merely the one who is the most sensitive. How can we help people to be a therapeutic influence for others whom they are close to, who may be more in need of help than they are, but who refuse to even consider such a possibility?

Cognitive-behavioral psychologists have found many ways to change people. Many of these techniques, once we have learned them and put them to work in our own lives, can also be used to help those around us. While they cannot, of course, serve as a substitute for actual counseling or psychotherapy which is provided by a duly trained and licensed mental health professional, they can help to make life easier, both for ourselves and for those whom we hold dear. 

For example, Albert Ellis has compiled a list of "ten irrational ideas," which is reproduced below, Most of us believe some of these false beliefs at least part of the time. The first one, "I must be perfect in all respects in order to be worthwhile," does an especially great amount of damage, since it guarantees that we are going to feel like miserable failures whenever we do not live up to this impossible ideal. We can spare ourselves a great deal of misery when we cast out this false belief once and for all! But what about our friends and loved ones? Whenever someone who is close to you acts as if he or she could use a gentle reminder that they are being too hard on themselves by expecting to be perfect all the time, you might point this out by saing something like, "You know, dear, sometimes I think you feel like you have to be perfect all the time or you're a failure. But even the Pope goes to confession. You mustn't expect yourself to be perfect when nobody else is!"

You don't need a Ph.D. in clinical psychology to apply ideas like this in a common-sense manner when the situation is appropriate. The rest of the items on Ellis's list can also take their turn when the situation warrants it.  
 Ideas that Cause Negative Emotions

 "I must be perfect in all respects in order to be worthwhile." Nobody can be perfect in everything that we have to do in life. But if you believe that you're a failure unless you are perfect in every way, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of unhappiness.

"I must be loved and approved of by everyone who is important to me." Sometimes you just can't help making enemies, and there are people in the world who bear ill will to almost everyone. But you can't make your own life miserable by trying to please them.

"When people treat me unfairly, it is because they are bad people." Most of the people who treat you unfairly have friends and family who love them. People are mixtures of good and bad.

"It is terrible when I am seriously frustrated, treated badly, or rejected." Some people have such a short fuse, that they are constantly losing jobs or endangering friendships because they are unable to endure the slightest frustration.

"Misery comes from outside forces which I can’t do very much to change." Many prison inmates describe their life as if it were a cork, bobbing up and down on waves of circumstance. You can choose whether to see yourself as an effect of your circumstances, or a cause.

"If something is dangerous or fearful, I have to worry about it." Many people believe that "the work of worrying" will help to make problems go away. "Okay, that's over. Now, what's the next thing on the list that I have to worry about?"

"It is easier to avoid life’s difficulties and responsibilities than to face them." Even painful experiences, once we can get through them, can serve as a basis for learning and future growth.

"Because things in my past controlled my life, they have to keep doing so now and in the future." If this were really true, it would mean that we are prisoners of our past, and change is impossible. But people change all the time -- and sometimes they change dramatically!

"It is terrible when things do not work out exactly as I want them to." Could you have predicted the course of your own life? Probably not. By the same token, you can't predict that things are going to work out exactly as you want them to, even in the short term.

"I can be as happy as possible by just doing nothing and enjoying myself, taking life as it comes." If this were true, almost every wealthy or comfortably retired person would do as little as possible. But instead, they seek new challenges as a pathway to further growth.


Perceptions that Make Negative Emotions Worse


Similar practical applications can be found for the items on the second list. which cognitive-behavioral psychologists refer to as "cognitive distortions."  Most of us have heard the expression, "looking at the world through rose-colored glasses." But when you use cognitive distortions, you tend to look at the world through mud-colored glasses! Here are some habitual ways of looking at things that you should stop from rolling through your head if you catch yourself using them.

All-or-nothing thinking. Everything is good or bad, with nothing in between. If you aren't perfect, then you're a failure. You procastinate doing stuff because they are not perfect until you have no other choice than doing them.

Overgeneralization. A single negative event turns into a never-ending pattern of defeat. "I didn't get a phone call. I'll never hear from anybody again."

Mental filter. One single negative thing colors everything else. When you're depressed, it sometimes feels like you're "looking at the world through mud-colored glasses."

Disqualifying the positive. If somebody says something good about you, it doesn't count. But if somebody says something bad about you, you "knew it all along."

Jumping to conclusions. You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.

Mind reading. You think somebody is disrespecting you and don't bother to check it out. You just assume that he is.

The Fortune Teller Error. You think that things are going to turn out badly, and convince yourself that this is already a fact.

Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization. Imagine that you're looking at yourself or somebody else through a pair of binoculars. You might think that a mistake you made or somebody else's achievement are more important than they really are. Now imagine that you've turned the binoculars around and you're looking through them backwards. Something you've done might look less important than it really is, and somebody else's faults might look less important than they really are.

Emotional reasoning. You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: "I feel it, therefore it must be true."

"Should" statements. You beat up on yourself as a way of getting motivated to do something. You "should" do this, you "must" do this, you "ought" to do this, and so on. This doesn't make you want to do it, it only makes you feel guilty. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.

Labeling and mislabeling. This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. When you make a mistake, you give yourself a label, such as, "I'm a loser." When someone else's behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him, "He's a louse." Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.

Personalization. You believe that you were the cause of something bad that happened, when you really didn't have very much to do with it. And ask a friend to help you realize your emotions or worries so that you can have someone to rely on.

Don't memorize these lists, just keep them handy.  (One of my cilients keeps them posted on her refrigerator for ready reference!) And when someone you know well enough starts showing signs of exaggerated worry, self-distrust, fear, anger, or despair, see whether or not some of these false beliefs or false perceptions might be behind these feelings. And, in the process, you'll get pretty good at applying these principles to your own life.

As previously mentioned, this type of "psychological first aid," augmented by sympathetic listening, affection, and encouragement, is not to be considered as a substitute for actual counseling or psychotherapy, which can only be carried out by trained professional. But If we can get the people around us who refuse to even consider the possibility of formal counseling or psychotherapy to "lighten up" in the manner just described, it can frequently make life better for ud ss well as for them!

See also: 
How to Keep Your Boss from Driving You Crazy

Print Sources


Ellis, A. (2006). IHow to stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable about anything -- yes, anything! Chicago: Citadel Press. 

Laazrus, A. A., Lazarus, C. A., & Fay, A. Don't believe it for a minute! Forty toxic ideas that are driving you crazy. San Luis Obispo, CA: Impact Publishers.



 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Hypnotic Seduction on Tape, Perpetrator Behind Bars

It's a hypnotist's worst nightmare -- but the camera does not lie!



Some years ago, I was asked to testify in the case of a man who had falsely advertised himself as a psychologist and had begun hypnotizing teen-age girls in the area, one of whom subsequently accused him of rape. In order to make its case that hypnosis could be used to compel behavior, the prosecution had pointed to an incident in Eastern Europe several decades earlier, in which a stage hypnotist had handed a man a pistol loaded with blanks and commanded the man to shoot him. The hypnotized subject, who was an off-duty police officer, drew a loaded revolver from his pocket and shot three members of the audience.

I testified that while hypnosis cannot force people to people do something which is against their moral and ethical codes, it is impossible to conclusively demonstrate in the laboratory whether or not hypnosis could be used to compel anti-social behavior. You could never actually allow such behavior to occur in an experimental setting, or in any kind of staged demonstration, and the subjects know it! But, in what I like to call "the laboratory of life," the results are more clear-cut. Hypnosis in its modern form has been around for over two hundred years; and if you have to go half way around the world and back several decades in time in order to find even one instance of its alleged use in the commission of a crime, then it would be easier to conclude that this individual was psychotic or personality disordered than to conclude that his behavior was the result of the alleged coercive power of hypnosis. If hypnosis could be used in such a manner, by this time its anti-social applications would be well-documented -- in organized crime, in international espionage, by thwarted lovers, and in many other settings. And the evidence simply is not there.

When a hypnotist is accused of rape or seduction, the problem is not with hypnosis itself, but with the power differential which is inherent in a therapeutic relationship, as it is when the abuser is a person in a position of high status, as was the case with Rasputin, a priest and an advisor to the Tsarina in the court of imperial Russia. This trust must never be abused. The responsibility always lies with the person in authority. It is necessary for the trusted person to maintain strong boundaries and to stop any inappropriate relationships from developing, even if a client displays seductive behavior due to transference, a personality disorder, mental illness, physical attraction or simple intimidation.. A teenager would be especially susceptible to such suggestions; and If he or she subsequently accused the hypnotist of rape, then the chances are, the hypnotist may have abused his or her position of trust and authority in order to have sexual relations with the client, which is tantamount to rape, as we are currently seeing on the news where hypnosis is not involved at all. Therefore, the prosecution's mistake was to attack hypnosis itself, rather than the power differential which the nan who was impersonating a psychologist had exploited,

In addition to not sufficiently taking into account the dynamics of power differential, the most serious mistake that we make in situations such as these is to assume that fantasies of seduction under hypnosis occur only to hypnotists and never to their subjects. And the most serious mistake that the hypnotists make in situations such as these is to discount the possibility of "buyer's remorse!"


Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Hypnoverse: Hypnotically Reversing Cause and Effect

Anxiety is rooted in the fear that something is going to happen, and depression is rooted in the letdown which we feel when we believe that something terrible has already taken place. In the Multiverse, where everything that can happen actually does happen, we are able to hypnotically project our awareness to a place where the complete and total fulfillment of our existence is already an accomplished fact, and bring the reality of this experience back with us to the present. thereby assuaging anxiety and depression by hypnotically reversing cause and effect.

Kelley Woods (Gibbons & Woods, 2016, pp. 180-182) describes how she hypnotically guided a dying client to pre-experience the ultimate fulfillment of her existence in the Universe of all Universes, the Kingdom of Heaven, and bring back to her failing body "all of the beauty, all of the joy, and all of the love that it was possible to experience in a lifetime and more," to subdue the fear of her impending death, 
 Clients who do not have specific religious or metaphysical beliefs of their own may be able to use a metaphor of the Multiverse adapted from modern  physics, in which anything that can happen actually does happen. to pre-experience the fulfillment of their existence in whatever way they may choose to define it.

Of course, it is not necessary to wait until clients are on their deathbed to pave away the effects of anxiety and depression through the hypnotic reversal of cause and effect. Many other applications of this technique are also possible, as our book illustrates.

Reference

Gibbons, D. E., & Woods, K. T. (2016). Virtual reality hypnosis: Explorations in the Multiverse. Amazon Books.  

Friday, July 13, 2018

Cognitive Behavioral Psychology (CBT) for Stress Management

With 99% of the same genes as our closest monkey cousins, the chimpanzees, it's no wonder that under the pressures of modern life, the tendency to become stressed can sometimes spiral out of control, This brief posting is not intended to serve as  a substitute for counseling or therapy. If stress has begun to affect your personal or work life, you should definitely seek the services of a duly licensed mental health professional. However,for many everyday situations, the following information may be helpful in correcting the habits and thought patterns that can frequently get us into trouble.

It is generally agreed that cognitive-behavioral psychology is the fastest-growing orientation within the profession. There is also a rapidly-accumulating body of evidence that it actually works! Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, may be summarized as the study of the relationship between thinking, feeling, and behavior.  Just as physical therapists can provide you with exercises to improve physical functioning, cognitive-behavioral therapists provide exercises to develop more effective psychological adjustments.


The information below was garnered from several different sources, and provides you with a variety of useful forms and worksheets so that you can use whatever combination of these CBT tools you find most helpful. The information referred to in any of the links below can be downloaded by clicking on the link and using the print command on your computer. 


Cognitive-behavioral therapists frequently use a document called a thought record in order to examine just what goes on when we keep making those angry responses that keep getting us into trouble. Here is what one looks like, courtesy of www.getselfhelp.co.uk. They also provide a summary of the STOPP technique, which they describe as "CBT in a nutshell," and which can be summed up in one sentence: "Try not to act merely in the moment. Pull back from the situation. Take a wider view; compose yourself." Following is a hypothetical example of how the anxiety thought record form might be used to see a situation from a different perspective. Using the example of being suddenly cut off in traffic by another car, with the column headings in italics and one set of possible responses in standard type. You can practice using these forms for a number of other hypothetical situations, or situations that have actually made you angry in the past, in order to be prepared for a variety of possible situations in the future. 

Situation: A car suddenly swerves in front of you and slows down, causing you to slam on your brakes in order to avoid hitting it.


Feelings, Emotions,:  An increase in heartbeat and blood pressure, clenched jaw, faster breathing.


Emotions/Moods (rate 0-100%):  Anger.


Physical Sensations & Reactions: Swearinggripping the steering wheel


Unhelpful Thoughts/Images:  Urge to speed up and pass the car in front of you, honk at the driver, make an angry gesture, and cut back in front of him.


What I Did/What I Could Do/What's the Best Response? (Re-Rate Emotion 0-100%)  Realize that the emotion will pass in a few moments, but if you act on it the situation could escalate and possibly lead to serious complications.


Finally, the folks at www.smartrecovery.org have a toolbox of resources which is a treasure-trove for people who want to alter hard-to-change behaviors of every type, but especially addictive ones.They have prepared a selection of tips and tricks for managing anxiety in such a manner that in many instances you can not merely control it, you can get rid of it!  Here is a partial list of some of the other materials which they have to offer. The information may be downloaded free of charge by using the print command on your computer, although donations are encouraged. Here is a partial list of some of the materials which they have to offer:
Just as reading a book on surgery will not make you into a surgeon, and reading an exercise manual will not build muscles, merely reading a Blog posting on how to train yourself to avoid stress will not be enough to enable you to get rid of it. People who practice meditation do not hope to attain enlightenment merely by reading about it, Regular practice using the thought record for a variety of situations is the key to making CBT work for you 

Confucius said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." No matter how long the journey, cognitive-behavioral psychology, especially when undertaken with professional guidance, can be of great assistance in successfully reaching your destination.

See also: 
How to Keep Your Boss from Driving You Crazy
Toxic People who can Wreck Your Life


 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

How to Stop Grieving for a Lost Love

Many of the clients we see daily in our psychology practice have a broken heart somewhere in their past. Sometimes, however, you may be able to fix it yourself -- or at least, you can ease the pain enough to stop grieving so much about it. 
The following video explains how you should treat the loss of a loved one as if yo were wuthdrawing from a drug -- becuse that's exactly what the brain thinks it is!



Saturday, July 7, 2018

Anniversaries, Nodal Events, and Social Systems

by Annette K. Schreiber, Ph.D.

A nodal event is an event in a person's, family's, community's or country's life that affects it profoundly. Some events are positive, like the election of a president or the birth of a Royal baby. Some events, however, are so negative, that they throw everything out of equilibrium. Hurricane Sandy was such an event.

The Jersey Coast and those of us who were personally affected by the storm know that things will forever be different. We, as individuals, families and communities, have been knocked off balance. Everything has changed, as we search for the "new normal."

When we approach anniversaries of negative nodal events, we may find that we don't feel "quite right." We may become symptomatic in many ways, physically, emotionally or behaviorally. One person may get a bad cold, or break out in a rash. Another may quietly get drunk, or not so quietly go speeding down the highway and get a bunch of tickets. And most people have emotional upsets. Feeling depressed, sad, irritable, anxious, or having panic attacks are ways that many people "mark" these anniversaries. Why? Do we decide this is how we are going to observe the anniversary of Sandy? No, it is not a conscious decision. Each individual is part of a system: a family, a community or a country. And if the system is out of equilibrium, there are shockwaves that reverberate throughout all parts of the system, bringing on symptoms.

After Sandy, many members of our communities remain in deep trouble. The disillusionment stage of recovery has set it. The insurance companies, FEMA, SBA, the local, state and federal governments aren't moving fast enough to get people back in their homes, or their businesses up and running. Many people remain displaced, and have lost everything they owned and are desperately trying to figure out how to move forward.

But, there are random acts of kindness, people volunteering and giving, and countless fundraisers. Groups of people gather in formal and informal support groups to help themselves and others make sense of it all, and to draw strength from each other.

So, if on a particular anniversary, you don't feel "quite right," realize that you are not alone in feeling this way, and that we have all been knocked for a loop.  But our people and our communities are strong --  so Keep Calm, and Carry On!




 





Monday, July 2, 2018

How to THINK Like a Thin Person

Most diets simply do not work for most people most of the time, because they have not learned to think like a thin person. After we have been on a diet for a while and lost some weight, our body reacts to the diet as if it were a famine. Our metabolism slows down, we stop losing. and eventually we begin to eat more, in order to return to what our body had previously considered as our "normal" weight. Here's how to break the cycle.

Cognitive-behavioral psychology is the study of the relationships between thinking, feeling, and behavior.  Unless we develop the habit of taking all three of these into account, in the same way that thin people habitually do, we will continue living on a perpetual yo-yo of dieting to lose weight and then gaining it back to the level that our body has become used to. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapists often use a form called a thought record in order to examine just what goes on in the mind when we make those habitual decisions that keep getting us into trouble by eating the wrong things. You can obtain them at www.getselfhelp.co.uk. You can make copies of their sample form for your own use by using the print command on your computer, and you can also obtain different versions of the thought record for a host of other purposes. In addition, they have a free online self-help course and other materials on how to use the thought record effectively.


Here's an example of one way that a thought record might be used to counteract one common stressful situation which causes people to consume too much food. Let's suppose you are putting in long hours and having to do more than your fair share at work because other people have been laid off, and your boss is driving you crazy. You start to gain weight because you have gotten into the habit of consoling yourself by eating too much, and then you cannot keep the weight off for the reasons just mentioned. The thought record first asks you a series of simple questions about the thoughts that occurred when you gave in to the temptation to overeat, asks you how appealing those thoughts were, and helps you to think of more appealing thoughts, as illustrated below.  


  • Where were you?   Watching television on the couch at home.
  • Emotion or feeling.  Fatigue. Lethargy. Craving for a snack.
  • Negative automatic thought.  I want to go to the kitchen and get some pretzels and beer.
  • Evidence that supports the thought.  I will enjoy them after a long hard day at work.
  • Evidence that does not support the thought.  I'm becoming a couch potato.
  • Alternative thought or autosuggestion. "I'll find other activities to enjoy.
  • Emotion or feeling. Relief (rating:60%); discomfort at having to get up (rating: 40%).  

  • Of course, you don't have to chronicle every decision this way in order to learn to think like a thin person. It only takes a few such exercises to the hang of it. But it is necessary to make a good beginning for cognitive-behavioral psychology to help you to keep your feet on the right path As Confucius said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!" 

     Print Sources


    Barlow, D. H. (2008). Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders: A Step-by-Step Treatment Manual, 5th ed. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

    Beck, J. S. (2008).  The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House.  (Judith Beck is the daughter of Aaron T. Beck, the founder of cognitive-behavioral therapy, and one of its most widely respected leaders in her own right.) 

    Moss, M. (2013). Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.  New York, NY: Random House.


     

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