With all the excitement surrounding the latest “Star Wars” movie, I thought it was only appropriate to start 2016 off right with wisdom from the green one. I remember it was 1980 something and I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico sitting in a theater, which had previously been a catholic church, watching the “Empire Strikes Back.” I was mesmerized, thrilled, and just could not wait to go out and get the action figures.
Well, as the years have gone by, I have found that there are some good messages/ teaching moments that can come from these movies. I still have a growing family, so I felt it was time to get everyone up to date on these sci fi classics. So, we all discussed the following:
“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”
“Difficult to see, always in motion is the future.”
This was actually a lot of fun and quite insightful as everyone had something to say that tied in with the movie and their life. So Parents, you might want to give this a try when the family is gathered around.
To read more of what Yoda says about these topics, click Here
It’s horrible, unthinkable, and now fear and paranoia has taken a firm grasp on our society. Senseless violence against coworkers who are befriended for a time, a facade if you will, only to be eventually and brutally gunned down in the name of radical Islam (ISIS)? “San Bernardino Strong,” not one citizen of this wonderful community wanted to be put on the global map this way. However, they will be forever remembered for this tragedy, and I believe this will only serve to embolden more terrorists like these two radicals to commit more violent killings.
Gun sales were already at record levels with the recent mass killings in France. Now, we have been hit on our turf, it is real! Handguns and rifle sales are surging with gun ranges reporting all time highs in activity. We want protection, to be ready and safe. Meanwhile the President argues that disarming the citizenry is the best way to proceed. Interestingly, a recent Pew research study revealed that 57% of Americans believe that owning a gun helps protect people from crime. That it is up 48% from last year!
Our country is changing as is our mindset. The psychological impact that kicks in is that of “self-preservation.” On one level, this is our capacity or desire to anticipate dangerous situations and to respond to the cues that anxiety provokes in each of us. Also, this approach to self-care means that we become more self assertive in protecting ourselves and those whom we care about. This may well be one of the primary motivational reason people are buying their very first guns.
Where do we go from here? the Muslim community leadership admits that they are conflicted about having to come out and apologize for every incident that takes place with one of their own. Their people are afraid to come out in public because of the perceived and very real scrutiny. I do recognize their feelings and this is a polarizing point of growing contentiousness. There is increasing talk of possible internment camps to monitor all of the muslims, like there were with the Japanese Americans during World War II here in the United States. I’m a student of World War II and have read and known survivors who have personally sat me down and explained the horrors and atrocities of the holocaust. These discussions bring personal feelings of disgust and provoke deep swells of troubling uncertainty. The muslim community must police themselves, if not, this will quickly become something none of us wants or can stomach… EVERY LIFE MATTERS!!!
I’ve seen a tremendous number of clients who have come to me seeking understanding and healing either during or after serious life events. Sadly, some of these client’s relationships go painfully the way of divorce. However, most are at that point in their relationship where they realize that help is needed or there won’t be one.
So, what are “Life Events” and have you experienced them?” Well chances are, yes, you have! Here are the biggies: Chronic Illness (like Cancer), Unemployment (job hunting), Childbirth (who wanted the baby more), Living Apart (thinking about our men and women in the military being deployed), Trauma (could be death of loved one, serious accident, sexual assault etc), and Unfaithful partners. You’d be very surprised, but, this last one seems to be the motivating factor in bringing couples in for therapy. All the cards are laid on the table so to speak and everything can now be addressed openly and with honest candor.
These life events are terribly painful, deeply personal, they drain our mental capacities, and tax us physically. The truth is that none of us will be able to leave this life without experiencing most of these “Life Events.” Did you realize that there are also “turning points” with regard to these events, as well. Let me explain. A turning point is not just a temporary change in our pathway, no, it is a permanent shift that only becomes recognizable to us as our life moves forward.
The psychological impact can be profound or subtle depending on our understanding of the turning point. Some of us may well experience a turning point that brings to us a much needed opportunity, or possibly brings one to a close. Others life events may create an environmental transformation that is more permanent. Still, one may feel that their life event has caused their turning point to be so deeply personal that it has provoked a complete restructuring of their self-worth, belief system, and expectations for themselves and the world around them. However, let’s remember that for in many of us these life events cause a turning point in many individual’s lives, yet, for some it may be less severe and therefore the transition doe not transform them.
Life events can bring upon us stress, anxiety disorders, depression and physical illness. Importantly, all of the life events that we will experience do require some form of change or adaptation by us. It can be unpleasant or pleasant. However, these can be valuable life lessons, as well. Can we ask ourselves, “What can I learn from this, and what can I share with others about my personal experience that might help them?” If you are in pain, thinking that you are suffering from depression, anxiety or another psychiatric disorder, get help. You don’t have to do this alone…Be well.
A couple of weeks ago I was intrigued by a frontline sensationalized article in a european newspaper. This online news source was breaking the news that a famous celebrity had HIV, but, was refusing to come forward for fear of the consequences to his career, costly lawsuits, and hatred and vitriolic dialog that would surely come from his announcement. The article was very descriptive and in telling that many famous actresses in hollywood, international models, TV stars, male and female porn stars had sexual encounters with this person. Adding to this, the pressure to come forward now and confess his acts.
Admittedly, I did wonder who it might be, yet, I thought this person was probably really agonizing over this decision and hoped he or she was seeking professional help. However, this article furthered my thoughts on what I could do to be a resource for people like you and me who have contracted HIV.
We all know now that Charlie Sheen is that famous celebrity who has contracted HIV. I watched his interview with Matt Lauer on the TODAY show and found it to be very insightful. I believe it was a smart move bringing in his personal physician who’s been treating him to explain the difference between HIV and AIDS. Let me pause here, if you did not watch the interview or read the transcript let me point this out, HIV is a virus that leads to AIDS. Charlie Sheen is HIV positive, however, he does not have AIDS! That is a very important part of his story that is being misunderstood.
What I look at are the underlying mental health issues that lead one to make harmful personal choices, put their health and others in danger, cope by way of addictive behaviors. Charlie was depressed. He self medicated with harmful drugs, toxic levels of alcohol, numerous hypersexual liaisons with prostitutes, celebrities, models, and porn stars of both genders. His angry tirades, non-sensical monologues (remember “tiger blood”), and erratic behavior went viral. He was a media sensation, a tabloid punching bag for months, and one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, as well.
I’m certainly not excusing his lifestyle choices, however, what I take issue with is that he was forced (blackmailed) to reveal his illness to the world. In the age of the internet, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat we are in everyone’s business. Personal lives aren’t! Social media is just that, social. Let’s step back a moment and think about this, would you want people to know you have a mood disorder, HIV, prone to long episodes of depression, suffer with paralyzing anxiety that build to spontaneous panic attacks? How about your employer finding out that you have OCD so severe that the compulsions cause you to take an inordinate amount of sick days? What about them finding out that your ADD is so bad that you have a habitual pattern of not being able to complete tasks, meet deadlines, or stay organized? You get my points, right?
This is bigger than Charlie Sheen, HIV and AIDs are very serious and continue to deserve our attention, but, not in this type of public forum. This a very personal struggle. Certainly, we can show compassion for the pain he’s in and he needs to be freed from the haters, opportunists, and blackmailers so he can concentrate on his health. At some point he’ll be able to put HIV in the RIGHT spot light. My hope is that we can be respectful of one another’s privacy, as we would like the same for ourselves.
With the recent hacking of the secretive “Let me cheat on my spouse without her knowing” website aka “Ashley Madison,” a national fallout has begun in millions of relationships. I heard that divorce lawyers expect this to be terrific for their business, sadly, this will also keep therapists, psychiatrists, clergy, social workers busy, as well. Many relationships, quite possibly many already in trouble, will be destroyed by the revelation that their spouse has been unfaithful. This will tear both hearts and families apart.
Infidelity is extremely difficult to work through once uncovered because of the betrayal, deep pain, the loss of trust, and terrible deception that led to the revelation. Naturally, the majority will witness the tragic end of their relationship, but, a few will navigate through these treacherous minefields and become stronger as a couple. However, be forewarned, the journey is painfully long, bitter at times, full of guilt for the one who has cheated, and doubt and mistrust play on the mind of the loyal one who stays despite the affair.
What is truly fascinating is the mental state of the person caught cheating who is then then faced with having to take accountability for their reckless behavior and apologize. Maybe you were caught? Maybe you are facing the prospect of deciding to stay or leave the unfaithful spouse? Are you asking yourself, “Can I make it through this?” What is for certain is that there are no easy solutions. There are some very rough times ahead for millions of couples faced with this Ashley Madison Fallout. I think it’s better to say, “Life is short, so don’t have an affair!
Interested in the psychology of a cheater, read HERE
Do you see the pattern here? Unchecked and unmedicated mental illness leads to a transference of anger that builds to a delusion full of hate that ultimately leads to unprovoked senseless violence. We have witnessed this play out, yet again, this time in Virginia. Two co-workers just doing their jobs on an early summer morning that ultimately turned horrific and has gone viral with the hope of causing a race war from the shooter’s intent.
The psyche of america is wearing thin with the constant violence, hatred, and civil unrest that has become so prevalent. How are you handling it? What are you telling your children about it, or are they even aware of it? Do you have a conversation about it with your partner, family etc, or is this topic avoided because it doesn’t affect you personally?
Tragically, this deals a psychic blow to the family, friends, and co-workers who knew Alison Parker and Adam Ward. Some, with time, therapy and possibly medication will come to terms with what has happened and move forward with their lives, but sadly, others will not be able to cope with this tragedy. As the investigation intensifies we discover a profoundly disturbed, psychologically impaired human being who was so angry, so hateful, deceitful, with no sense of accountability for his actions and no regard for human life.
Can you avoid this type of tragedy and recognize the signs? Start reading HERE
The political winds are in true hurricane form as the most electric personality we have ever seen (at least in my lifetime) makes his entertaining bid for a presidential run in 2016. Whether you like him or hate him, there really doesn’t seem to be a neutral position out there regarding the straight talking real estate magnate. His inflammatory remarks can make you cringe, roll your eyes, or maybe cause you to shout and clap your hands in agreement. To say that he is polarizing is quite true and possibly an understatement, just ask Megyn Kelly who needed to escape for ten days under the public backlash for her widely perceived attack on the billionaire during the first Fox News Presidential Debate.
I’m interested in the psychology behind the meteoric rise of this electric, outrageous, in your face, and get it done, “Alpha male” that drew twenty thousand people in Alabama last week? Is this what America has been craving, or is this a charade that “the Donald” has masterfully crafted? Of course, he’s wealthy, has an ego that would be difficult to squeeze into a Boeing assembly plant, and the hair, well, let’s not get off track. He is taking the United States by storm and the political establishment is pulling their hair out trying to figure out what to do about him.
The true “Alpha male” is clearly on display. His language is raw, uncensored, confrontational, and it is resonating with many in our society. What an entertaining time in politics for us to observe and understand the mentality of this unique warrior type that we have not seen since maybe the precarious Teddy Roosevelt.
Interested in more insight, read HERE
Not only are kids tech savvy these days, but, they are also becoming more irritable, defiant, and exhausted! How often have you found yourself either battling with them over the amount of screen time and then using the screen time as a tool to punish or reward them? How much stress and divisiveness has this caused in your relationship and household?
More and more behavioral problems like depression, ADD/ADHD, and bipolar disorder are the prevailing mental illness labels that are diagnosed because of the electronic overload. Many parents just find it so much less confrontational to let their child play video games to calm them down or pacify the present situation. Most parents come in and feel their at their breaking point and need medication for the behavioral problems that have spun wildly out of control.
There is hope, yet, in a different way that will take some determination and willpower to follow through. If you think about it, when we arrive at a point that our physical health needs to be “reset,” the experts recommend that we “cleanse” with a fast. This actually shocks the body, can rejuvenate, detox, and reset our metabolism which are all positive effects. Well, it’s time to take the same concept and apply it to children who are wearing down because of the screen time overload. Now is the time for an “electronic fast.” You can do this! You know it has to be done and for your own sanity. So, take take control and act!
If you think it’s time for a “reset” then read HERE
Maybe you are trying to move on from a broken marriage, or a dead end relationship, or possibly you’re just feeling lonely and you would like some adult companionship. How do you meet people, well, many click on dating sites to connect with the hope of filling the void they now have in their life. This is the reality of our internet age, however, as with everything else, there are those dark, sordid predators who will manipulate the vulnerable, crush their romantic hopes while stealing their money. This is a sobering article, sad, as this might of happened to you? Many times we are not sure who we are really talking to, what their real age is, or where they are located (could be prison for all we know). Are they already in a romantic relationship and you are just an “adrenaline rush” for them? So many questions with few answers!
So often I have listen to my client’s tell me that these conversations turn sexually explicit quite soon and it becomes a real “turn off.” What is the psychological impact when you find out that the person you think you have a promising relationship with actually isn’t who he or she say’s they are? You feel violated, embarrassed, angry, and certainly betrayed! Then you discover your credit card has been maxed out and the hurt and pain is compounded. This could lead to depression, anxiety, and despair. We all still need to have a “buyer beware” mindset that certainly applies to dating, as well. The internet really is the “Wild West of Dating,” anything goes! You really need to be so careful, smart, and please do your research. Remember, if he or she sounds to good to be true, they might be, because we are all imperfect.
Learn how to avoid being scammed by dating sites by reading HERE
What a horrible thing to say and hear! So, why do we hate? What is it that drive us to this maddening state of mind? It is commonplace to read of the inexplicable hate crimes, the racial tensions that escalate into senseless violence tearing our communities apart, media hyping and overexposing the obnoxious behavior of our entitled celebrities, and of course lest we forget our politicians vomiting their own brand of democracy for all to consume. Again, Ferguson is burning, it is both tragic and so troubling that this racial frustration, vitriolic anger, and hatred surfaces once again. Have they learned nothing except that violence creates more violence? Another killing, racially motivated? I’m really not sure, but, what I am sure about is that “HATE” is behind the killing! Interestingly, when hate is directed outwardly (like at other people) it represents pride, however, when directed at ourselves it indicates that we feel guilty. Think about that for a moment as you reflect on the events of Ferguson. Remember, “Hate” is one of the most powerful emotions we as humans can experience. Also, it is the emotion that causes so much pain, suffering and sorrow in your’s, mine, and our lives. So, ask yourself, “Are you a hater?”
To understand the cycle of “hate” read HERE