Archive for November, 2008

You Can Buy Happiness!

November 30th, 2008

According to a study (Dunn, EW, et al. “Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness,” Science (March 21, 2008): Vol. 319, No. 5870, pp. 1687-88.) I read about in the Harvard Mental Health Letter (Sept. 2008), money can buy you happiness.  Specifically, spending money on others can make you happier than when you spend it on yourself.  In one study, the amount spent – whether as gifts or charitable donations - did not correlate with feeling happier.  Just the act of giving made a difference.

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Happy Holidays?

November 25th, 2008

The holidays can be a time of reunion and gathering of close family and friends.  It can also be a time of stress, conflict and hurt feelings – old wounds being reopened. 

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Teens, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity

November 22nd, 2008

Sometimes when adolescents show behaviors and interests that differ from their peers, parents are ecstatic.  A physics genius, an interest in reading and writing rather than Wii!  Things like this excite parents.  When a teen shows affectional and sexual interest in their same-sex or when boys “act like girls” and girls “like boys” – well, this is when parents and caregivers often times get confused or concerned.

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Race Relations in the Therapy Room

November 19th, 2008

I am sitting across from a new client – a person of another race.  I make a statement like “Often times, the fact of our different races can influence the process and outcome of our work together.  I’m going to do my best to pay attention to this.  I’d also encourage you to speak up if you think our cultural differences are getting in the way of our work.”  The client looks at me with a smile, pulls out her/his wallet, and shows me a picture of her/his child – clearly a biracial kid.

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What is Self-Love?

November 15th, 2008

Someone once asked me this question.  This person was struggling with their past and the way it was making itself known in their present.  So many mistakes.  So much growth still desired.  Positive self-esteem and self-regard wavering. 

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Embarrassed to see a Therapist?

November 11th, 2008

Sometimes people are embarrassed to see a therapist.  Others might be ashamed to let their friends or family know that they have seen or are seeing a counselor.  They think, ‘Will people think I’m crazy or weak?’  But now, the secret is out…

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Don’t Forget the Caregivers

November 8th, 2008

Dealing with cancer, Alzheimer’s and other potentially debilitating diseases can be hard for everyone.  Although we first think about the person living with the disease, it’s important not to forget the friends and family – also known as caregivers.

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A Proposition Not Worth Making

November 6th, 2008

In the wake of Proposition 8 passing in California, I’ve been reflecting on what this means for LGBT folk.  For those who don’t know, Proposition 8 is a referendum that passed a few days ago, creating a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

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Questioning Sexual Orientation

November 5th, 2008

For some folk, realizing that you are attracted to a person of the same sex can be a confusing and anxiety-producing experience.  All of the sudden, your life is not what you think it is.  Your dreams for the future seem less clear.     

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Grateful for the Moment

November 3rd, 2008

In honor of All Souls Day, also known as All Saints Day and Dia de los Muertes, I heard this poignant poem. It was written by Jane Kenyon while her husband was enduring cancer treatment.  A few years after writing this, Ms. Kenyon died from her own bout with the disease, while her husband was living a life in remission.

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