Some of the goals of therapy

To find ways to love and accept love

How to stop getting stuck in feeling bad about yourself

To create a fuller and happier life

To find ways out of helplessness and the feelings of being overwhelmed

To find a way out of the unnecessary pains, sadness, and losses in our lives

Friday, July 29, 2011


The National Institute of Health is predicting a huge increase in Diabetes because of folks overeating and not living an active physical life.  There are many causes for the overeating, I think psychological causes are major factors.  The feeling of emptiness, especially for older folks, is a very significant one.  How to understand and solve the feeling of emptiness begs psychological work be done.
A very interesting study which holds promise for some can be found at:

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Why is it so hard to ask for help.   The Beatles sang of the need for Help, and that feelings drive the need for help.   To own I need someone, is to publish, to declare  "I am dependent".  A problem for any relationship is how to be both dependent and independent within the connection.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Regrets are part of living a life.  Making choices grounds us in reality.  We make mistakes and also we can't have it all.  As we review the arc of our lives, learning from our mistakes can help lessen the pain of our regrets.  Yet, tolerating the pain of regrets allows our minds (our consciousness) to stay more open.  Of course each of  us has a finite amount of time to come to terms with the effects of choices.


The absence of unhappiness is not the same as happiness.

Many relationships are caught in unhappiness, even solving some of the causes of the unhappiness will not get you to happiness.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


“All the mistakes I ever made were when I wanted to say ‘No’ and said ‘Yes".

Often saying "no" is an act of defining something about the self, about making real a difference between self and other.  Sometimes saying "no" is propelled by a defensive defiance because the self is experiencing the situation as one framed by demanding compliance.  The task for the self (the "I") is to correctly assess whether the situation is really one of power, compliance and submission OR is a situation where differences are real and not arbitrary.  

Sometimes the difficulty with saying no is that the person feels that they will be "hurting" the other.   In some of these situations the person harbors a wish or yearning that there are no differences between the self and other and hence no conflicts of desire or intentions.  This yearning that there are no differences is a kind of magical thinking.  If someone doesn't get their "way" (their desire or intention), they may feel hurt (especially, if they have bought into the agreement that we have no conflict of interests).  This hurt, although it may be experienced, is rooted in an un-realness. 


You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here? Letting the days go by....
from "Once in a Life Time", the Talking Heads


People are strange when you're a stranger...
from the DOORS in their album "Strange Days"

Frank Zappa

The Mind is like a parachute, it needs to be open to work.

Workings of the Mind - Love

Love trumps entropy (at least in the short term - say a billion years)

Entropy is a concept meant to describe a process in which higher levels of organization decline to lower levels of organization.  Certainly when we look at birth and the gift of life each of us knows that the beauty and organization of the body and mind will return to dust.  So what stands against this bitter knowledge?
Momentary pleasure?  Genetic continuity?  Spirituality?  These "things" help the self in the moment.  But if   we take moments in which we experience being loved, or acting in a loving way and if we use these experiences as a "road sign" indicating a direction and a destination, then, I think, we have something to sustain us in the chill of the night.   When we hope that our children will do "better" than us,  avoid our painful mistakes, these kind of hopes are expressions of our implicit belief that love trumps entropy.   Each of us has witnessed some of the beautiful consequences of love.  What is even more true, is that we are not able to fully see or know the unfolding consequences of love.  How the effects of love ripple through unmet people both in our present time and into the future.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On the Workings of the Mind - EFFORT

Without motivation all organisms fall away from effort .

Essentially psychology has grouped the set of possible motivations into two broad categories: Approach vectors and Avoidance vectors.  Approach vectors can range from pleasurable sensation to satisfaction experiences such as a hard earned achievment.  Avoidance vectors can range from unpleasurable sensation to some noxious experience such as humiliation.  Rarely is experience propelled by a single motivation, rather experience and behavior are resultants of a profound blending of motives.   Early psychologists such as Henry Murray put forward categories of motives such as "need for achievement" and "harm avoidance".   The individual was said to have a high or strong motive (a kind of loading or weight concept).    At times this categorization works but many times the notion of motive (s) is more usefully understood in terms of dynamic scenes very much like a Shakespearian scene.  In these scenes motives take on meaning, are born in the relationships and what is happening between the persons.   

 Often the task of therapy is to work towards discovering the most salient of these motives and the role of these scenes in their life.