Archives for January, 2011


Therapy Tools: Role Playing

Acting appeals to most of us -- something about taking on a different persona, exploring unfamiliar motives and gestures is alluring.

With roots in *psychodrama, role-playing in individual and family psychotherapy offers an exceptional tool for patients struggling with a variety of issues. When given the chance to “act” in an unfamiliar role, whether as self or other, new, even life-changing ideas can be uncovered.

If the therapist joins in and takes the role of people in the patient’s life or even the patient herself, this simple and even enjoyable therapy tool can generate significant insights.

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Video Games & Anxiety, Social Phobias, Depression: Poll

A friend just emailed us a link to news about a *recent study by an international research team including Iowa State University's Douglas Gentile, showing that video games are addictive for nearly 10 percent of players and that those who were pathologically addicted had higher incidences of anxiety, social phobias, depression, and poorer grades in school.

This study was reported on in more depth, here at PsychCentral.

The study turns on its head previous arguments that those problems caused the video game addiction, and not the other way around however the study also shows that those children and teens with greater impulsitivity and lower social skills were more likely to become addicted. But kids who cut back on playing or quit see their emotional problems lessen.
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Nina Lesowitz & The Courage Companion

You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Courage is a kind of salvation.  ~ Plato

We continue our interview with Nina Lesowitz, author of the Courage Companion.

One group that doesn’t get often credit are those with mental health issues, for many of whom each day requires courage. Do you have any stories about those with emotional/mental health issues in your book?

I completely agree. I did interview someone (who didn’t make it in the book) who suffers from Recurrent Major Depression Disorder.  Her condition is further defined as Severe, Without Psychotic Features. It took enormous courage for her to get a law degree despite having terrifying symptoms for many years without proper diagnosis or treatment.

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Goals and Objectives

Therapy Tools: The Therapy Journal

The first therapy tool we blogged about is the Personal Perspective Paper. Another helpful and somewhat related tool—one that many therapists recommend to their patients—is the therapy journal. The therapy journal might be familiar to many of you--however, despite it's popularity and familiarity, I don't find that it is used as much as it might be.

For some, writing in a journal can help them zoom in on and clarify issues discussed during therapy. The entries in a therapy journal generally are about feelings, emotions, and thoughts; they may be about behaviors, too. By writing in a therapy journal before and after each session, you will be able to reflect in a more focused manner on the issues you are facing. Unlike the PPP, a journal is written in often, as much as several times a day.

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The Bravest People In The World

One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. Maya Angelou

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Mark Twain

Every day, ordinary people like you and me overcome extraordinary travails. Despite our fears, our hardships, our pain we keep embracing life. In fact, sometimes the most ordinary people are the bravest people in the world. Best-selling author of The Courage Companion, Nina Lesowitz talks what it means to face the world with courage.

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Therapy Tools: The Personal Perspective Paper

I want to share a couple of therapy tools taken from my book, Therapy Revolution.

They are designed to help you and your therapist pull therapy into focus.

A tool I created and often use to help patients record their problems (and successes) as they understand them is the personal perspective paper (PPP). [Your therapist may have a similar tool that he or she likes to use or a different one, that has the same purpose. At the risk of sounding cliched, it is important to remind oneself that, like snowflakes, no two therapists and no two clients are alike.].

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Manage Your News Consumption and Control Your Stress

So far, the results of this weeks's poll, Does the News Make You Blue, beg the question: If the news really triggers such negative feelings...why pay such close attention to it?

Don't get me wrong, I like staying informed. I feel as a citizen, it is my responsibility to stay informed and vote for those who, in my view, will contribute to making this country, and the world a place in which freedom can flourish, (among other things).

But I don't get my news from television, which I find especially prone to "yellow journalism."
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Does The News Make You Blue? Weekly Poll

The tragedy of the Arizona rampage. Natural disasters likes floods and earthquakes. Gang violence. Government corruption. Terrorism. Poverty. Disease. War.

Feel-good stories (and there are plenty out there) apparently don't make for exciting news. When's the last time you saw a story about Lassie rescuing Timmy from the edge of a cliff?

Even the most stalwart can find themselves feeling a little chagrined at the latest news. What if you are experiencing depression -- does the barrage of negative news trigger more negative feelings?
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