Psych Central

Archive for February, 2012

Improve Your Relationship: Know When It is Best Not to Say Anything!

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

silent womanWhether you have just begun dating or you are celebrating a Golden Anniversary, most partners are aware that communication is a crucial component in relationship happiness and satisfaction. Most self-help books extol it, and most experts working with couples encourage and facilitate improved communication.

Dr. Marianne Legato, author of Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget contends that without effective couple communication, there is no relationship at all.

A crucial but often overlooked communication skill for partners is knowing when it is best not to say anything.

This skill is not about suppression, quiet compliance, the silent treatment, dismissal or neglect. It is a choice that reflects attunement, empathy, regulation of emotions and prioritizing the bond you share.

It is knowing those times when your comment, critique, opinion, question or news not only fails to add value – it makes matters worse!


Aging: Throw Out the Stereotype and Bring in the Potential

Monday, February 13th, 2012

happy seniorOur society is guilty of Ageism, the negative stereotype of aging adults based on the presumption of inevitable decline in intellect, memory, physical capacity, mobility, and sex drive. Depicted in media, greeting cards and jokes, it has been ingrained in the culture and reflected in the expectations of both young and old alike.

Well beyond the jokes and sitcoms, however, the downside is reflected in forced retirement, job discrimination and sub-standard care of the elderly, to mention only a few examples. On a personal basis it is reflected in a one-dimensional view of self that settles for stagnancy and decline and overlooks potential.

It is difficult to change a cultural perspective – but not impossible. There are increasing challenges to ageism worth embracing.

Medical advances – As expert on aging, Gene Cohen suggests, modern medicine now allows us to view negative body changes as modifiable age-associated problems – not destiny.  With the help of medications, cardiac interventions, orthopedic joint replacement etc., people proceed with their lives with a capacity they could not have known years ago.

  • An 80 year old flew to Florida to be at a traditional super-bowl party – he was wearing a heart monitor.
  • A group of 64 year plus fraternity buddies are together on their yearly ski trip -with plenty of medication and a number of replaced body parts. 

Research- Pew Surveys not only find older adults reporting more happiness in their lives than in their middle years, but researchers like Craig Bickhardt, find that neurophysiologically there is an increased potential for positive change and enhanced creativity in the second half of life.


Why Can’t We Speak About Rape? Finding a Voice

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

rape victimAccording to a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 16,507 adults, nearly one in five women has been a victim of rape or attempted rape and one in 71 men reports having been raped or the target of attempted rape.

As alarming as these statistics may be, they greatly under-represent the numbers who have suffered. Men and boys tend not to report being raped and women rarely report rape by a partner or acquaintance. Sadly, ¾ of all rapes are committed by a known person who is never held accountable.

The Silence About Rape is Dangerously Loud!

The silence about rape reflects the nature of the crime and both the victim and society’s reaction and interaction in response to it.

The Impact of Rape on the Victim

Rape is a violent crime. It brutally assaults the victim’s core self and the physical, psychological, neurological, and cognitive systems that integrate functioning.

In the immediate aftermath, rape is often experienced as an annihilation of the ownership of self — a loss of the self’s ability to act, to make meaning or register what is happening, to remember. Feelings are overwhelming or numbed. Narrative is destroyed. There are no words for what is too horrific to comprehend.

Rape survivor, Nancy Raine in her book, After Silence: Rape and My Journey Back, describes:


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Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP & Dianne Kane, DSW are the authors of Healing Together: A Couple's Guide to Coping with Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress. Pick up the book today!

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