Emerging From the Veil of Addiction

When self-medication winds its way into compulsive dependence, we disappear behind a veil that leaves us in a sort of social and emotional suspended animation and, when we reemerge, we find we are right where we started.

Gas-lighting: Burning the Bridges of Truth

One of the more insidious forms of mental abuse has come to be referred to as gas-lighting. It refers to those who attempt to destroy another person’s sense of reality.

Getting Into Your Growth Zone

If we look closely, what we find nested inside our comfort zone is a little rabbit hole—our complacency zone.

Exploring Post Traumatic Growth

In recent years, we’ve heard a lot about post-traumatic stress, or PTSD, and the negative effects it can have on a person’s overall health and wellness. PTSD is triggered in response to either experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, particularly if that event is life threatening

Exploring Existential Depression

From a clinical perspective, depression is typically categorized as psychological, situational or some combination of the two. What we often overlook is the spiritual aspect of depression, which is not clinical, but existential. This subtle, cloying sense of incompleteness doesn’t so much paralyze us as haunt us, ringing hollow in our deepest heart.

Selling the Couch: The Business of Psychotherapy

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.

Mindfulness and Cultivating Creativity

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?

Impulse Control Can Work Against You

When “I shouldn’t” becomes “I can’t,” we can end up creating obstacles for ourselves that interfere, not only with our self-development, but with our basic happiness.

Why We Care About What Other People Think of Us

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.

Gratitude, Listening and Leaning In

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.

The Vanishing Point of Grief

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.

You Are More-Than, Not Less-Than, You Think

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.

Raise Your Words, Not Your Voice

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.

Conscious Aging: Sense of Purpose Contributes to Longevity

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.

The Perils of Perfectionism

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.

Is Your Relationship Evolving With You?

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?

Social Acceptance: Are You a Threat?

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.

The Unhappy Life

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.

Personal Meaning Impacts Male Suicide

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.

Understanding What Motivates Your Triggers

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.

It’s Not OK: Learning Self-Valuation

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.

Media, Mindfulness, and Personal Meaning

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.

Teach a Man to Fish…Will He?

One of our most profound errors of social intelligence is the assumption that if we provide someone with a vehicle for change, they will not only accept it, but undertake to make it.

Self-blame: The Ultimate Emotional Abuse

Self-blame is one of the most toxic forms of emotional abuse. It amplifies our perceived inadequacies, whether real or imagined, and paralyzes us before we can even begin to move forward.

Making Change Happen

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.

Your Relationship Is a Cinnamon Latte

Buying your morning coffee is the perfect metaphor for a healthy relationship: a balanced transaction that involves expressing needs and distributing resources.

5 Steps to Compassionate Acceptance

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.

Yoga as a Vehicle of Transformation

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.

Human Needs, Buddhist Psychology and Mindfulness

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.

Skip the Resolutions, Invest in Real Change

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.