Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Facing us and Daily Strength: Two Wonderful Resources for Those Struggling With Mood Disorders

 I would like to write about two wonderful resources for those struggling with depression, anxiety, and more.

Facing Us is an online community and resource center for those suffering from mood disorders.  It offers the following:

"■Screening Center: Fill out a confidential questionnaire to see if you might be experiencing signs of depression, mania or anxiety.

■Learn about Depression: Learn about the illness, its signs and symptoms, treatment options and the prevalence of depression that occurs with other medical illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, etc.

■Learn about Bipolar Disorder: Learn about the illness, its signs and symptoms, treatment options and the prevalence of bipolar disorder that occurs with other medical illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, etc.

■Learn about Anxiety: Learn about the illnesses, the signs and symptoms, treatment options and the prevalence of anxiety that occurs with other medical illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, etc.

■Educate Yourself: Browse through more than 40 different DBSA publications about mood disorders, treatment options or challenges and information on how others can help.

■Find a Support Group: You are not alone! Find a support group near you using our convenient search tool. DBSA chapters run more than 1,000 peer-led support groups across the United States.

■Watch & Listen: At DBSA's online Recovery Education Center, take a class, watch videos and listen/subscribe to podcasts.

■Sleep Better: Good sleep habits have a significant impact on maintaining wellness. Get tips and information on how to improve your sleep. You can even request a "sleep kit."
It also offers an online journal, wellness tracker, creativity center and more.
Daily Strength "is the largest, most comprehensive health network of people sharing their advice, treatment experiences, and support.

•Access 500+ support groups for health issues and life challenges

•Set realistic goals and get advice from people just like you

•Research the latest drugs, treatments and alternative therapies"

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Personal Lives of Therapists

Being a therapist is highly rewarding, extremely challenging and often exhausting work. How does this work effect the personal lives of therapists? Psyche Visual offers a free online presentation this month by Doctor Brendan McPhillips entitled, “What Happens to the Therapist in Therapy?” McPhillips distributed surveys and conducted interviews with therapists in order to answer this question.

One respondent to McPhillips survey described his psychotherapy career as akin to “a life spent under the sea, so the fragile life giving sunshine and upper earth realities take on a new value and a new beauty” You can listen to this month’s free presentation here

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Living in Gratitude by Caroline Myss

The above is a brief video on living in gratitude. Myss urges us to make "the appreciation of life" our spiritual practice. Not an easy task by any means, but an essential one if we are committed to living our lives fully and with grace. Adabella Radici wrote, "As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world."

It requires no effort to acknowledge how deeply troubled this world is, how much pain and suffering is present each and every second of each and every day. And yet, there is so very much beauty here - so much love, and compassion, and wisdom... When I open my grateful heart, I both bless and am blessed.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

online video Marsha Linehan on Mindfulness and DBT

Youtube offers a presentation delivered by Marsha Linehan at the Awakening To Mindfulness conference on mindfulness and DBT skills. You can watch the remainder of the lecture by following the associated links following the first segment of the lecture.

There is also a wonderful online resource for developing DBT skills here

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Problems and Possibilities

In The Five Stages of the Soul, author and executive director of the Brookdale Center on Aging at Hunter College, Harry Moody, describes an exercise he periodically asks his students to complete. First, he requests that students compile a list of the significant problems that currently confront them. Next, students are asked to number the problems in order of severity, and then to read each problem while asking themselves the following questions as they move through the list:

"Is this problem really as dire as I imagine it to be? What are its potential good points? What is the worse that can happen to me? What is the best?

How can I use this problem, these feelings of dejection or loss or futility, to understand myself better? What are these feelings really telling me? Suppose I were to think of this problem as a messenger standing at my front door with a letter. What does the letter tell me about my life, my needs, my possible course of action?

Think back to previous similar problems. Now that the pain and suffering associated with them is past, would you avoid the suffering that they brought if you knew you would be deprived of the insights such experiences provided? If so, why? Or why not?

What hidden messages are there in this for me to learn from? How can I take the suffering that life has handed me and use it as a tool for spiritual growth?..."

These are extremely helpful questions to ask when one is attempting to gain perspective, harvest experience, and formulate a course of action.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Psychotherapy , Happiness and Money

According to a study conducted at the University of Warwick and published in “Health Economics, Policy and Law,” psychotherapy may be 32 times more effective at fostering happiness and well being than either getting a raise or winning the lottery.

Study author, Chris Boyd wrote, “Often the importance of money for improving our well-being and bringing greater happiness is vastly over-valued in our societies…The benefits of having good mental health, on the other hand, are often not fully appreciated and people do not realize the powerful effect that psychological therapy, such as non-directive counseling, can have on improving our well-being."

I’m reminded here of psychologist and author, David Myers observation that “We excel at making a living but often fail at making a life. We celebrate our prosperity but yearn for purpose. We cherish our freedoms but long for connection. In an age of plenty, we feel spiritual hunger.”

Study after study concludes that material wealth is not correlated with emotional, physical or spiritual health, and retail therapy offers far less in terms of satisfaction and well-being than psychotherapy. Even a poll conducted by the Roper organization, commissioned by Jean Chatzky, financial editor of the Today show and columnist for Money magazine in 2003, concluded that personal happiness is not connected to how much money you have to spend. If you want to be happy, your best bet is to invest in your relationships and the health of your mind, body, and spirit rather than in gold, stocks, bonds, or your bank account.