The Hidden Powers of Gratitude

Laughter has long been hailed the best medicine, but a growing body of research is showing gratitude to be a major player in the path to a happy and healthy existence. Scientific findings have revealed that when we make a habit of focusing on and appreciating the positive parts of life, we can enhance our overall well-being. As one journal review noted gratitude is “related to a variety of clinically relevant phenomena.” These include positive outcomes in mental health (particularly around depression), adaptive personality characteristics, positive social relationships, and improved physical health (especially regarding stress and sleep).

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How Do Adverse Childhood Events Impact Us?

In the 1980s, Dr. Vincent Felitti, a physician from Kaiser Permanente was running an obesity clinic through the Department of Preventive Medicine. After several years, much to Felitti’s puzzlement, more than half of the people participating had dropped out despite successfully losing weight. Determined to find out why, Felitti eventually stumbled upon a troubling finding: many of the participants who dropped out had suffered childhood trauma. Their struggles with obesity were directly related to this early trauma, and therefore, losing weight was more than just a physical issue.

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Making Sense of Your Life to Empower Your Future

What could be more important and empowering than making sense of your story? Research demonstrates that creating a coherent narrative of your early life frees you to be the author of your future. When we fail to make sense of the past, we are often trapped in it, reliving old hurts over and over again. Creating a coherent narrative provides you with the keys to unlock stubborn destructive patterns in your relationships, from whom you select to the dynamics that are created. The self-knowledge gained makes you aware of your triggers, and this allows you to be a better parent, a better partner, and a better person.

 

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Insight into the Violent Mind

The World Health Assembly recently declared that violence has become a major and growing public health problem internationally.  Studies have shown that violence — an extreme expression of aggression toward others — and suicide — an extreme manifestation of aggression directed against the self, overlap to a certain extent. Researchers have long attempted to better understand why some individuals act out aggression toward themselves while others express their anger outwardly. Part of the answer appears to lie in identifying the negative thought processes experienced by those who are at high risk for either suicide or violence.

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An Overview of Separation Theory

Separation Theory integrates psychoanalytic and existential systems of thought by showing how early interpersonal pain, and separation anxiety and later death anxiety lead to the development of powerful psychological defenses. These defenses attempt to cope with and minimize painful experiences and emotions suffered in one’s developmental years but later predispose limitations and maladaptation in adult life.  The name Separation Theory was derived from the understanding that human life can be conceptualized as a series of successive separation experiences ending in death, the ultimate separation.

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The Origin of Polarization, Prejudice, and Warfare

One of the most significant contributions of my theoretical approach, Separation Theory, is that it offers an understanding of the core dynamics underlying human aggression. It explains how people’s defensive nature and dependency on fantasy bonds polarize them against others with different customs and beliefs. In a similar vein, Schneider’s (2013) concept of “psychological polarization” describes the elevation of one absolutist point of view to the exclusion, even demonization, of all others (The Polarized Mind). Such polarization is the age-old antidote to the existential anxiety and panic evoked by the painful realization of the inevitability of one’s personal mortality.

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6 Major Influences that Stop You from Becoming Your True Self

Each individual faces a struggle against powerful odds to retain a unique selfhood and personal identity.

 

The Inner Voice in Self-Destructive Behavior and Suicide

The prediction and prevention of suicide are complex and challenging; however, these are not impossible goals.

 

Insight into the Violent Mind

Over the past four decades, my colleagues and I have observed clinical material that has expanded my understanding of human destructiveness toward both self and others. I became aware of an underlying critical thought process that is at the core of all forms of maladaptive behavior.

 

A Tool We Need After a Tragedy

A few years ago, my husband and I were having a late dinner at a café in Paris on a vacation when people started to shuffle and panic around us. An older man leaving the restaurant stopped to tell us that something terrible is happening; there was a terrorist attach a couple miles away, and several parts of the city were still under attack. We left immediately and walked to our hotel without encountering the violence, although each step was serenated by the sound of sirens. For the next 24 hours, we sat in our hotel, glued to the news, uncertain of how we’d get home, and overcome by how quickly a city of light could darken in mourning. I know I was lucky. I know that I had no idea what it felt like for those who had been in danger from the attacks, desperately hiding or fleeing from a split second that could end their life.