Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Will I be Pretty?

The above is for every woman who has ever worried about her appearance or heard her daughter ask, "Mom, will I be pretty?"

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gross National Happiness American Project

In 2009, inspired by Bhutan, a tiny new democracy in the Hemalaya mountains, the Gross National Happiness American Project was born in Vermont. The organization echoes Bhutan's assertion that as important as measuring a country's 'gross national product' is measuring the well-being and happiness of its citizens. The Gross National Happiness website explains that gross national happiness is "based on the premise that the calculation of 'wealth' should consider other aspects besides economic development: the preservation of the environment and the quality of life of the people. The goal of a society should be the integration of material development with psychological, cultural, and spiritual aspects – all in harmony with the Earth."

Gross National Happiness involves nine dimensions; psychological well-being, health, balanced management of time, community vitality, education, culture, environment, governence, and standard of living.

Considering the terrible toll materialism has taken on the planet and its people, it is always heartening to learn about fellow Americans who are advocating for a healthier and more sustainable way of living.
If you have a few minutes, pay a visit to their website

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Questions to ask yourself at the end of the day

The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary

Cultural anthropologist and author, Angeles Arrien, suggests that we ask ourselves four
reflective questions at the end of each day in order to integrate our experience, develop our character, and live more consciously. Those questions are:

1. Who or what inspired me today?
2. Who or what challenged me today to stretch and grow?
3. Who or what surprised me today?
4. Where was I touched and moved today?

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Science of Happiness

What makes us happy? Watch BBC's The Happiness Formula What you learn may surprise you....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Psychotherapy as a Form of Spiritual Practice

     Marcia Hill wrote in "Diary of a Country Therapist, "A very expensive profession, psychotherapy.  Emotionally it has cost me dearly: in echoed heartache, in secondhand images of cruelty and sufferig.  But if psychotherapy has cost me the innocence of not knowing, it has also given me the keys to transformation.  It has been for me a form of spiritual practice." 
   Wikipedia defines spiritual practice as, "intended to develop an individual's inner life; such practices often lead to an experience of connectedness with a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self; with other individuals or the human community; with nature or the cosmos; or with the divine realm."

   When comparing psychotherapy to spirituality in In Search of Common Ground,  Frances Vaughan observed, "...many of the processes that contribute to psychological health and well-being contribute to spiritual growth as well."  Vaughan points out that the following are integral to both both psychological and spiritual development: telling the truth, releasing negative emotions, effort and consistency, authenticity and trust, integrity and wholeness, insight, forgiveness, awareness, liberation and love. 

   On his website psychotherapist Jim Moyers writes, "The Greek word, psyche, translates as "breath, life, or soul" in English. "Therapy" is derived from therapeia, the attendant who served both gods and humanity in the temples of ancient Greece. “Psychotherapy” can thus be described as the sacred work of attending the soul, carefully nurturing the most essential aspects of who and what one is. The idea that the psyche has its own regulatory system that strives for integration and wholeness is at the heart of my work as a psychotherapist, an "attendant of the soul... Psychotherapy as practiced by Jung and those who follow in his footsteps is, at its best, a means for reconnecting with a mysterious Something deep within that gives life purpose and meaning."

   While I am still reflecting on the ways in which doing psychotherapy intersects with spiritual practice, I am clear that being a psychotherapist has both fostered and demanded significant spiritual growth of me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Martin Seligman on Positive Psychology

   What is positive psychology?  According to Psycholgy Today it's "the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. It is a call for psychological science and practice to be as concerned with strength as with weakness; as interested in building the best things in life as in repairing the worst; and as concerned with making the lives of normal people fulfilling as with healing pathology."

   Martin Seligman, the psychologist that brought the world positive psychology talks about it on TED here 

   Interested in attending an online course on positive psychology or a live workshop in Lewiston or in Portland Maine?  If so, contact us here

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Catch it, Check it, Change it": Tools for Fighting Depression

   All too often, when you're depressed, negative thoughts can take over; thoughts that you might have immediately recognized as false when you were feeling better can suddenly feel like cold hard facts.

   In Peaceful Mind: Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Psychology to Overcome Depression, authors Mcquaid and Carmona describe several techniques that are helpful for countering depression including "Catch it," "Check it," and "Change it."
   Using Catch it, Check it, and Change it (or the 3 c's) involves first noticing the thought that is creating difficulty (catch it), deciding if this thought is accurate (check it), and replacing an inaccurate thought with one that is more accurate and helpful.

   You can learn far more about how to begin using this technique by going here

   Our thoughts shape our experiences, our feelings, our very lives.  Norman Vincent Peale observed, "change your thoughts and you change your world." There's a tremendous amount of truth in those 8 little words, enough truth to change a life...