Posted by on Jun 21, 2014

The most common reason we get stuck in our lives is because of something called “experiential avoidance”. What is that? This brief video explains it beautifully.

ACT, For clients

The problem with positive thinking explored

Posted by on Nov 14, 2012

This theme seems to be making its way from psychology research into the mainstream media more and more (see the TIME article I posted on June 21). Decades of the “positive thinking” industry have little to show, and folks are looking for something more realistic and useful…

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking (7 minute NPR interview with author)

ACT, Cognition, For clients, Mood & Emotion

Yes, I Suck: Self-Help Through Negative Thinking

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012

The model I have found most useful in my work as a therapist has been Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is one of what some call the “Third Wave” of therapies (following the first two waves of behavior therapy and cognitive therapy). It is based on the premise that due to the inherent nature of language, we are unable to avoid, change or erase troubling thoughts and feelings. Rather, our goal is to lean into and accept these difficult thoughts and feelings in ways that do not restrict our ability to move forward and create a meaningful life.

This short TIME article points out several studies that illuminate the futility of just trying to think good thoughts, or avoid that which troubles us…

Yes I Suck (TIME Magazine, 7/8/09)

ACT, Cognition, For clients

Suspending the “self” and living from our essence

Posted by on Jun 19, 2012

“We each have a self — but I don’t think we are born with one.” This is an eloquent and powerful 14-minute talk on the struggle with self-identity by movie actor Thandie Newtown, daughter of a white man from England and a black woman from Zimbabwe. But it is not just about racial identity. It is about the relationship between who we are, our essence, and the “selves” we have constructed, which she says are “projections our clever brains create”. “When the self is suspended” as when she is fully engaged in dancing or acting, she says, “so is divisiveness, and judgement.”

I honestly believe, that the key to my success as an actor, and my very progress as a person, has been the very lack of self that used to make me feel so anxious and insecure. I always wondered why I could feel others’ pain so deeply, why I could recognize the somebody in the nobody.It’s because I didn’t have a “self” to get in the way. The thing that was a source of shame, was actually a source of enlightenment.

Thandie Newton TED Lecture

ACT, Anxiety & stress, For clients, Relationships and relating, Values and what is important