Monthly Archives: October 2013

Being good enough….

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“If you can’t tolerate making the slightest mistake, if you constantly focus on negatives and strive to eliminate each and every one of them—or if you set your goals so high that you almost never feel capable of reaching them—then you’re afflicted with the self-defeating malady of perfectionism. And an additional problem caused by such a dysfunctional mode of functioning involves a strong tendency to procrastinate. For you’ll hesitate tackling anything you fear you won’t be able to do perfectly. Endlessly obsessing about doing things just right, your neurotically distorted perspective leads you to lose sight of critical matters regarding such things as timing, appropriateness, and efficiency.”  

See link: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201310/how-do-you-know-whats-good-enough

You may also look at Winnicott’s ideas about ‘good enough mothering’.  Though Winnicott is discussing quite different issues here, it nonetheless has some interesting associations for the development of children…and the fostering of relationships. 

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Social Media and Self-doubt…

Free psychology

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The following article highlights one of the difficulties encountered by many social media consumers…

“Social media-induced angst is happening with increasing frequency. Just as businesses and brands use social media to interact with their target audience and monitor consumer interest, people are using social media to gauge how their friends and acquaintances feel about them. “Likes” may be interpreted as approvals. Not “liking,” not following, or otherwise not engaging might translate into snubs. Since social media etiquette is largely undefined, and there are few universally-understood and followed “rules of engagement,” such interpretation is highly subjective and, in many instances, leans towards the worst-case scenario.”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-gender-ourselves/201310/your-social-life-is-not-your-social-media

 

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ART AS THERAPY

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Philosophical and psychological look at art – its meanings, its uses…excerpts:

“Like other tools, art has the power to extend our capacities beyond those that nature has originally endowed us with. Art  compensates us for certain inborn weaknesses, in this case of the mind rather than the body, weaknesses that we can refer to as psychological frailties.”

“Few of us are entirely well balanced. Our psychological histories, relationships and working routines mean that our emotions can incline grievously in one direction or another. We may, for example, have a tendency to be too complacent, or too insecure; too trusting, or too suspicious; too serious, or too light-hearted.  Art can put us in touch with concentrated doses of our missing dispositions, and thereby restore a measure of equilibrium to our listing inner selves.”

“The task for artists, therefore, is to find new ways of prying open our eyes to tiresomely familiar, but critically important, ideas about how to lead a balanced and good life.”

Despite our best efforts at self-awareness, we’re all too often partial or complete mysteries to ourselves.  Art, de Botton and Armstrong suggest, can help shed light on those least explored nooks of our psyche and make palpable the hunches of intuition we can only sense but not articulate:

“We are not transparent to ourselves. We have intuitions, suspicions, hunches, vague musings, and strangely mixed emotions, all of which resist simple definition. We have moods, but we don’t really know them. Then, from time to time, we encounter works of art that seem to latch on to something we have felt but never recognized clearly before. Alexander Pope identified a central function of poetry as taking thoughts we experience half-formed and giving them clear expression: “what was often thought, but ne’er so well expressed.” In other words, a fugitive and elusive part of our own thinking, our own experience, is taken up, edited, and returned to us better than it was before, so that we feel, at last, that we know ourselves more clearly.”

More than that, they argue, the self-knowledge art bequeaths gives us a language for communicating that to others — something that explains why we are so particular about the kinds of art with which we surround ourselves publicly, a sort of self-packaging we all practice as much on the walls of our homes as we do on our Facebook walls and art Tumblrs. While the cynic might interpret this as mere showing off, however, de Botton and Armstrong peel away this superficial interpretation to reveal the deeper psychological motive — our desire to communicate to others the subtleties of who we are and what we believe in a way that words might never fully capture.

Art as Therapy: Alain de Botton on the 7 Psychological Functions of Art

by Maria Popova 

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/10/25/art-as-therapy-alain-de-botton-john-armstrong/

 

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The benefits of psychoanalysis endure…

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“Other therapies target specific symptoms,” Shedler says, “whereas psychodynamic therapy focuses on the whole person. Yet it alleviates symptoms just as effectively. It aims to accomplish much more because most of the time, emotional suffering is not an encapsulated ‘disorder’ but is woven into the fabric of the person’s life.”  See link below

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201006/therapy-watch-total-treatment

 

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How harmony, melody, and rhythm trigger the same reward systems that drive our desires for food and sex.

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“[Scientists] found that emotionally charged writing activated areas of the brain which are known to respond to music. Predominantly on the right side, these regions had previously been shown to give rise to the “shivers down the spine” feeling caused by an emotional response to music. The researchers found that when study participants read one of their favorite passages of poetry, regions of the brain associated with memory were stimulated more strongly than “reading areas.” This suggests that reading a favorite passage is like a recollection. When the team specifically compared poetry to prose, they found evidence that poetry activates brain regions associated with introspection – such as the posterior cingulate cortex and medial temporal lobes.” See links below: 
 
 
 

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Turning Adversity into Creative Growth

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There’s little doubt that trauma can be immensely painful, often leaving deep emotional and psychological scars long after the stressful experience has passed. But can there be a silver lining?

“In recent years, psychologists have become increasingly interested in the positive life changes that accompany highly stressful life events, such as being diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness, losing a loved one, or sexual assault. This phenomenon has been referred to as posttraumatic growth…” See link below

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/2013/05/06/turning-adversity-into-creative-growth/  

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Creating a Psychoanalytic Mind….new book…

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Bringing a fresh contemporary Freudian view to a number of current issues in psychoanalysis, this book is about a psychoanalytic method that has been evolved by Fred Busch over the past 40 years called Creating a Psychoanalytic Mind. It is based on the essential curative process basic to most psychoanalytic theories – the need for a shift in the patient’s relationship with their own mind. Busch shows that with the development of a psychoanalytic mind the patient can acquire the capacity to shift the inevitability of action to the possibility of reflection.

Creating a Psychoanalytic Mind is derived from an increasing clarification of how the mind works that has led to certain paradigm changes in the psychoanalytic method. While the methods of understanding the human condition have evolved since Freud, the means of bringing this understanding to patients in a way that is meaningful have not always followed.Throughout, Fred

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