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Showing posts from August, 2017

Got Anxiety? How to Help

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NOTE: This article first appeared on lifehack.org, where I am now a columnist.In Part I of this two-part series, we looked at what anxiety is and how to tell if you or someone close to you is suffering from an anxiety disorder.Now let’s explore the causes of anxiety disorders and the treatments for them. We’ll also delve into the best self-help strategies anxiety sufferers can practice themselves and how their friends and families can help.Types of people who are prone to anxiety disordersThe causes of anxiety disorders are not completely understood, but most people I’ve worked with seem to have one or more of the following: a more sensitive temperament, to have suffered events that felt traumatic to them early in life, and to have endured a period of stressful situations. The combination of these factors brought them to a tipping point that created an anxiety disorder. Specific risk factors for anxiety disorders include:Childhood trauma, such as abuse, neglect, or witnessing a trauma…

The Two Faces of “Anxious”

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NOTE: This post first appeared on lifehack.org, where I am now a columnist.“Anxious” is a word with two faces. Sometimes it means eager excitement. “I’m anxious to see you!” we say, as we get off the phone with a friend who’s coming to visit. The other side of “anxious” is a bit darker: “I’m anxious about that test,” we say, when we’re worried about the results. We call the second meaning “anxiety,” and most of us experience it from time to time.In common usage, both meanings of “anxious” describe our responses to fleeting, time-limited events.But anxiety can also have a much more powerful grip on many of us. Without the right kind of attention, it can rule our lives.I’m a psychotherapist in private practice north of Boston, Massachusetts, and I’ve worked with many clients who have anxiety. In this, the first of two articles on a psychotherapist’s views on anxiety, I’ll describe what anxiety is and how you can tell whether you or someone close to you is suffering from it. In Part II, …

My love affair with Georgia O’Keeffe

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For many years, people have pointed out that my Flower Mandalas must have been influenced by the flower paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe – which, of course, was not lost on me. But it was not until I traveled to Santa Fe and then north to Abiquiu and nearby Ghost Ranch that I understood how deep that influence was.I feel more at home and at peace (and at the same time, as the Brits say, gobsmacked) in this painted landscape than anywhere I’ve been on the planet, and I can see why O’Keeffe kept coming back, year after year, until she was finally able to put down a permanent stake there.Here are a few more of the images I shot on a too-brief journey up Route 84 into Georgia O’Keeffe country after attending the Creativity and Madness conference in Santa Fe.More anon,
DavidP.S. If you find what you read here helpful, please forward it to others who might, too. Or click one of the buttons below.Books:
Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas
52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Boo…

How Art Makes You Stronger: Creativity and Madness

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I’ve just returned from an incredible week at the Creativity and Madness conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I wanted to share a little about the conference itself and what I presented there.The conference is the creation of psychiatrist Dr. Barry Panter and Mary Lou Panter and is currently run by Dr. Panter and his wife, Jacqueline Berz Panter. Barry began it 35 years ago as a way for health and mental health professionals to receive and to present ideas on how artistic creativity and mental health are connected. This conference and the companion conference Women of Resilience happen twice a year in the U.S. and twice a year in other parts of the world.
The conference has been held in Santa Fe, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Washington, Hawaii, all of the major cities in Europe, as well as in South America, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Bali, and China. MDs, PhDs, Social Workers, MFTs, and other therapists and medical professionals can obtain continuing education ho…

Be the Change

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A man cannot step into the same river twice.
Heraclitis of EphesusI came of age in the late ’60s, the era of the first man on the moon, the Vietnam War, Woodstock, free love, civil rights marches, and the assassinations of iconic figures including Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X. It was a time of reinventing the mores, values, and attitudes of the Depression-era parents who raised us. Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’” was our anthem – and our hope. We believed we could “change the world”: end war and poverty, achieve racial equality, bring literacy to the illiterate, and recreate the Paradise from which we felt we had fallen long ago. We could do it. My generation. Us, not them.I finished high school in 1969 and that year discovered the poetry of William Blake, Allen Ginsberg, and Robert Bly. These poet radicals became my role models. Much of my first year in college I spent attending concerts by topical protest singers, encircling draft boards, demonstra…