Archives for March, 2011
Popular culture in the form of romantic comedies and pop music would lead you to believe that happiness in any relationship comes from finding that special someone whose personality is the perfect counterpart to your own. However, well-being in relationships is not simply a magical mix of personality characteristics between two people. Improving and maintaining relationships involves skills that can be learned. If you want an intimate relationship in which both partners can trust one another and admit vulnerabilities, you might want to try expressing a little gratitude. The expression of gratitude, it seems, more than other positive acts such as expressing thoughts of positive shared activities, improves your partner’s view of you and creates an open environment within the relationship in which concerns can be expressed.
President Obama went to enter the White House in front of the press and rolling camera’s, only to find himself locked out. President Clinton suffered through the public spectacle of his affair with Monica Lewinsky and President George H.W. Bush vomited on the Japanese Prime Minister.
Sometimes we all cut some corners to get what we want or need. Want to stay home on a beautiful day after a long winter? Call in sick. Don’t want to cook dinner? Act like you don’t know how. It’d be easier if someone else were helping you with a project? Exaggerate the difficulty.
From getting along with others to standing up for yourself to acceptance of life’s difficulties, Dr. Seuss’s (Theodor Geisel) stories can teach us a lot about how to navigate through the world. His stories are often silly and fun, but they are also wise, perceptive and full of good advice.
recently had the opportunity to ask Dr. Marvin Lew, psychologist, professor and author of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adults who have Intellectual Disability a chapter in Psychotherapy for Individuals with Intellectual Disability some questions about using Dialectical Behavior Therapy strategies with people who have intellectual disabilities. I’m happy to share with you, today, his experience. Christy: You worked with people with intellectual disabilities for a number of years. What problems did you see that made you consider dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for this group? Marvin: This is true. I worked with people who have intellectual disabilities (ID) for fifteen years. I supervised many clinicians during that time and there was often a feeling that some individuals had so many complications in their lives that they may never get better. Sometimes it was felt that 10% of our case-load required 90% of our time. Such individuals were challenges to their families, clinicians, and care providers. They had frequent difficulties with other people, had more than their share of community struggles such as loss of jobs, loss of housing, etc... and were often the genesis of burnout symptoms among their care providers. I'm sure I was not the only clinical supervisor who cringed at the sight of difficult to serve clients who had both ID and emotion regulation problems.
A recent article in National Geographic got me thinking about what traits are inborn and which personality characteristics are learned from our environment. In the article, wild foxes were bred over several generations to be as human-friendly as dogs. Are humans like foxes? With the right combination of genes over a period of generation are we capable of drastic changes in our behavior and nature? Is it genetics that cause some to struggle with addiction or engage in self-harming behavior?