The business side of private practice is something that eludes many, if not most, mental health professionals. As an outgrowth of his practice, Philadelphia-area psychologist Melvin Varghese has created an iTunes podcast called Selling the Couch, which is an on-going series of interviews with thought leaders in practice building, marketing and social media.
Creativity relies, in part, on the brain being in a state of unfocused, resting wakefulness, similar to that found in certain types of mediation and mindfulness practice. So, when you're at rest, are you actually working?
One of our more enduring social fallacies is the idea that what others think of us actually matters. While this notion clearly has primal evolutionary roots, the shift from survival instinct to social imperative has become one of our greatest obstacles to self-acceptance.
Central to every relationship is communication, and genuine communication relies on listening. Not just listening to the words that are spoken, but listening wholeheartedly to every aspect of the conversation taking place.
Grieving is not a linear process. It’s more of a spiral that leads us from our immediate broken heart, to a place of release and then, just when we think we have found some peace, sweeps us even more deeply into the tender heart of sorrow. That tender heart is the ground for compassion and acceptance, lifting us out of our sadness and into grace.
It seems nowhere are we more apt to exercise our negativity bias than when it comes to ourselves. This tendency can amplify our insecurities, drive our arrogance and keep us tethered to a past rife with regret, both real and imagined. The heart of change here is the recognition that it is our thinking—and our thinking alone—that fuels the less-than mentality.
One of the more enduring myths around marriage and relationships is that all couples fight. In fact, when a discussion escalates from a cooperative dialogue into an argument, it signals a fracture in the partnership that may be either acute, or more abiding.
A recently published study in the journal Psychological Science suggests that having a sense of purpose may add years to your life. Previous studies have also shown that purpose lowers risk of mortality, but what sets this study apart is its demonstration that the benefit of purpose does not change over diverse developmental periods or major life transitions.
When I set out to write an article on the perils of perfectionism, I didn’t realize that my own tendencies in that direction would prove to be one of my greatest obstacles. Having discovered this, it occurred to me that relating a personal narrative, rather than taking a more characteristic pedagogic approach, might be somewhat more revealing.
One of our most valuable human characteristics is the capacity to consciously evolve. Once we reach a certain point of self-awareness, it’s a small step to advancing our social, emotional, and spiritual intelligence. What happens, however, when our context—especially a significant interpersonal relationship—fails to keep pace with our self-creation?
Not only do we want to be loved, we need to be loved. This aspect of the human condition is a vestige of our primal heritage, hardwired into our brains. Because we also harbor a cognitive bias that prompts us to interpret things in a negative light, our experience of social rejection may actually be a misguided perception.
A recently published study in the Journal of Positive Psychology revealed some specific differences between meaningfulness and happiness. It turns out that a meaningful life can be an unhappy one, but momentary unhappiness is often informed by positive social contribution, and connected to a broader sense of purpose and self-value.
The Center for Disease Control recently released statistics on suicide showing a sharp increase across the board, but particularly within the middle-aged male population. Although researchers point to a number of variables potentially contributing to this trend, another, more subtle, factor to consider may be loss of meaning and thwarted sense of purpose.
One of the keys to recovery is knowing your triggers. Probably the greatest challenge to recovery is the specter of relapse. Crucial to sustainable sobriety is understanding what motivates your unique set of triggers, empowering more effective management of influences that might lead to relapse.
One of the subtle messages coming out of the Judeo-Christian ethic informing our culture is that we are somehow wrong or broken. Unlearning that perspective—and learning instead to value our own—can be one of our greatest challenges.
Time is precious. It is something that we, in our arrogance, often believe is infinite. In fact, the end of time—at least this time as we are experiencing it—is the one thing in our lives of which we can be absolutely confident.
Whether discussing the complexities of neuroplasticity or thinking about switching to decaf, the essence of change is pretty much about getting from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’. Perhaps the most difficult thing about enacting change is discovering exactly where ‘Point A’ is. In breaking our behavior cycles and creating the changes we desire, a number of factors come into play.
The path to compassionate acceptance combines conscious self-examination with an acknowledgment of the potential challenges we may face in our interactions with others. Fostering self- and other-compassion provides a framework for decision making that impacts both how we set up our relationships, and what we are willing to accept in those relationships.
A true and complete Yoga practice can provide us with a system for living that supports the structure and consistency upon which human being thrive, and which, ultimately, is one of the keys to lasting emotional health.
Buddhist psychology—and the Shankya yoga science from which it issues – describes seven psychological characteristics that inform our four life meta-categories (work, relationship, self and spirit) and also map directly to the various needs spectrums found in Western motivational psychology.
The reason our New Year’s resolutions so often fail us—or do we fail them?—is that, by definition, they engender change. Change is difficult enough for most of us, but volunteering for it can be even more of a challenge.
Human beings are the perfect predator. Not because we are the biggest, strongest, fastest kid on the block, but because we are the smartest. And what makes us the perfect instrument of violence is the very same thing that can make us the perfect instrument of peace.
Learning to strike a balance between the negative behavior of others and how we receive that behavior can be one of our most difficult tasks. This is at the heart of developing both social and emotional intelligence. That’s all well and good as some abstract concept, but what about when it’s directly in front of us, enshrined in the messiness of our daily lives?
How much energy do you put into thinking—or even worrying—about what others think of you? The degree to which we allow others to define us can be a serious obstacle toward developing and maintaining a healthy self-perception.
People are nothing if not consistent. Getting pulled into the inertia of that consistency—particularly when it‘s negative or, at the very least, unproductive—can quickly get you a one way ticket on the crazy train.
Over the next few weeks thousands of youngsters will be headed off to college and the vast majority of them don’t know how to do their laundry. That’s a stark metaphor for how over-parenting can undermine a child’s ability to be self-sufficient.
Enlightened Living considers psychology -- the science and study of the spirit -- and psychotherapy -- the practical application of wisdom -- through the lens of eastern thought, as well as eastern and western spiritual practice.