Being a self-proclaimed self-help junkie, I've read and listened to my fair share of advice on love and sex. With all of the experts out there that sometimes support, but more often than not contradict, each other, you need to find a way to sift through the rubble and find what works for you. Do you agree or disagree with the following specialists? Who's your favorite voice on love?
Social anxiety and major depression? They may sound like diagnoses for new moms and dads who are having a tough time adjusting to parenthood, but they're actually labels placed in tots as young as seven months old in the world of infant psychotherapy.
An in-depth article in yesterday's The Daily delves into the "strange and controversial world of infant therapy," where the diagnoses may sound familiar (think infantile anorexia, sensory stimulation-seeking disorder, and anxiety disorders), but the treatments are focused on the parents rather than pharmaceuticals. According to the article, the underlying factor in most of the "relationship-based aliments . . . revolve around how parents interact with the patient in question." So most treatments involve educating parents.
Many pediatricians and child psychotherapists are wary of the field moving into the realm of infants and toddlers. What do you think of the practice?
Sarah White is not a licensed therapist — how can she be when the APA strictly forbids nudity? — but nonetheless her naked therapy sessions are in demand. Clothes, she says, are limiting, and she frees clients to open up by taking hers off.
Whether stripping down is a metaphor of the therapeutic process or not, Sarah does not deny she's using the "power of arousal" with her mostly male clientele. "For men especially, who are less likely to go to therapy, it's an enticing, exciting, and I think effective way, a very effective way, to get men to open up and introspect, think and meditate, on how to make their lives better and more fulfilling," she says in a YouTube video the Daily Mail linked to but is now private.
A Daily reporter went to see her for a mock session in the video above, and you can see seduction is her key tactic. "Freud used free association," she says "I use nakedness."
Freud also talked about transference — the redirection of a patient's feelings toward the therapist — though. And since transference often manifests as a crush, I do wonder how she'd address that. But, hey, if she can get men who otherwise wouldn't go to therapy in the door, maybe she's doing the world a service? For all we know the sexy librarian phenomena started in an effort to get people to read.
The science of happiness can seem like a cruel joke. Most studies tell us who is happier — 54-year-olds, West Coasters, or people with sisters — rather than how to be happier. And tangible advice usually oversimplifies life and states the obvious. But psychotherapist Philippa Perry's advice in today's Guardian on how to rewire our brains sounds like it could actually work.
It's not easy, or even foolproof, but that's why I actually believe it. She acknowledges happiness levels are mainly set in the first two years of life, when our brains form neural connections that determine how we regulate emotions. Less-than-ideal parents can put you off the beaten path to contentment, and any later trauma can undo the good done early on.
Regardless of the cause, chronic unhappiness is no way to live, but the brain is quite pliable and it's not too late to rewire it. Find out how below.
For the last year or two, I've been having major alone issues. My boyfriend lives with me, and every time he leaves for more than a couple hours to go to his mom's or something, I get deeply depressed. Like I get really upset and cry a lot and can't sleep or anything.
Sometimes I'll pass out at abnormal hours compared to my usual and sleep for only a few hours then wake up crying for no apparent reason. Then I'm awake for the next couple days. My chest even hurts almost the whole time I'm alone. I've been like this since I started having difficulties with my last serious boyfriend in September of 2009, maybe even before that.
I want to know why I'm like this and if I should start seeking professional help. I can't handle it, and it sucks. I don't like this happening when it shouldn't. My friends and family and boyfriend shouldn't have to spend every second with me just so I'll be OK.
Lots of moms like to think out loud and Jo Aaron is one of them. In her latest post, she looks at the lighter side of sending a child through developmental therapy.
Did you know that 1 in 3 kids are in some form of therapy. Well you shouldn't because I totally made that statistic up (anyone, anyone?), but if you spend as much time around kids and parents as I do, you will probably agree...these days, everyone's doing it!
And my oldest is definitely not an exception. If anything, our craziness about saturating his short little life with endless hours of speech and occupational therapy has made him the unofficial poster child for EI.
I've found, by speaking to countless parents in waiting room after waiting room, that developmental therapy is just like infant hiccups in that it seems to be harder on the adults than it is on the kids. My little guy has no idea that his new "school" is actually a speech group or that the "babysitter" that comes to our house to play is really an experienced S&L therapist.
However, I, like many other folks, spend sleepless nights praying for clear speech and worry constantly about what his delay might mean for his future. Will the other kids make fun of him? Will people understand him if he needs something? And how in the hell am I going to potty train a little one who can't tell me he has to go?
A group of women in Manchester, England, are asking local ladies to bring their problems, and they'll bring snacks, bottles of wine, and a psychologist. The party really starts when women begin airing life's latest grievance, which could be anywhere from trivial to traumatic. One thing's for sure, though, it's fascinating to listen to.
The voyeuristic bonus is what makes shrink parties so controversial. True, they sound a lot like like group therapy, where a psychologist mediates a room of regular clients, but those people rarely know each other at the beginning. In fact, it's frowned upon. Shrink parties sound like petri dishes for gossip and judgment — "I'm doing better than her!" — which benefits the listener more than the talker.
Of course, there can be stigma attached to seeing a therapist, and some people would rather talk to a friend, but it would take a truly extraordinary group of women, who respect and support each other, to make shrink parties work. So much effort — why not just see a real shrink?
Mad Men's Betty
Draper Francis clearly needs someone to talk to. But on last night's episode, the 1960s housewife resisted going to a therapist. It's not that the mother of three on her second marriage doesn't value the help of a trained professional. Happy to have someone, anyone, to listen to her, she'll gladly share her problems with her daughter's therapist. But when that child psychologist nudges Betty toward seeing an adult professional, she puts up a wall of denial, making it clear that it's one thing to talk to a professional about your 10-year-old's problems and a very different thing to admit you need help yourself.
Perhaps Betty's previous experience seeing a psychologist is to blame. Dr. Wayne was happy to talk man-to-man with Don, telling him that Betty had the emotional maturity of a child. In the 1960s, it became more and more popular to work with a therapist, but it must have been hard to trust mental health professionals completely, as at least 50,000 people, including unhappy housewives, were lobotomized in the early 1960s. Even if most housewives were ignorant of extreme cases, the pressure to be perfect was probably enough to keep them from admitting they needed help.
Today, therapy is widely popular, and we don't have to fear that our therapist might talk behind our backs with our husbands or that we'll get lobotomized, but many women still worry about the stigma associated with getting the help of a therapist. Do you?
Photos courtesy of AMC
My husband and I are going through a tough time. I was unfaithful to him years before we got married and I had a small indiscretion one month after our nuptials that he recently found out about all at once. And now our once happy, blissful relationship is torn apart. We're seeking therapy and are working towards a happier relationship, but is so hard and often times, very sad. I'm trying to show him that I still love him and that I want to be with him. Any suggestions on how to make my marriage work?
Betty Draper talks to everyone but her daughter about touchy issues. In last night's episode of Mad Men, the tight-lipped mom flipped (and consulted a psychiatrist) when she found out Sally had been exploring her body. Being a parent can put even the most open-minded person into embarrassing situations. When issues arise, do you chat them out with your child or avoid the awkwardness altogether?
Photos courtesy of AMC