From the category archives:

Anxiety, depression and mood

This column also appears in the online format of the January-February issue of The Therapist Magazine, the publication of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.  While it was written for clinicians, concepts discussed are readily accessible to any interested reader.

Abstract:

In this column, Dr. Heller examines the clinical limitations of the Positive Psychology model, particularly the ways in which its limited dimensionality forecloses on the therapeutic process of working through and subsequent integration of strong vitality affects.  Rather than obviating the need for defenses like splitting and projection, this model sustains defensive posturing and induces guilt and shame.  Split off and projected affects often develop an independent life of their own where they continue to be acted out in their unmentalized and pre-articulated state.  Self-injurious repercussions frequently accrue from these repetitively abortive attempts to manage difficult feelings.  Literary, film and clinical material are used to illustrate iconic concepts of Donald Winnicott, Wilfred Bion and Melanie Klein. [click to continue…]

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This column originally appeared in the Orange County Register.

The very unstable economic surround in which we now find ourselves has unleashed an epidemic of anxiety-related complaints.  Stomach upsets, irritability, sleep disturbances, hives and rashes and unpleasantly intrusive thoughts or mental imagery have become increasingly common even among the usually serene and composed. [click to continue…]

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This column originally appeared in the Orange County Register.

Much has been written lately about impulsive behavior, particularly excessive spending or shopping, as its problematic consequences have become increasingly obvious as our economy continues to implode. [click to continue…]

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This column originally appeared in the Orange County Register

A screenwriter friend gave me an article discussing the salutary aspects of sadness and the ways in which our contemporary culture tends to quickly erase it or prematurely foreclose upon its gritty psychological usefulness in a quest for perennial cheery happiness.  As if happiness were a concrete object one could hold instead of a transitory state of being, one of many, that links specific inner notations of experience with external ones. [click to continue…]

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Every couple of years, I notice that a new life-altering book or program appears on the pop-culture scene promising to solve all our problems effortlessly and magically.  I’m reminded of those late night infomercials promising astounding wealth with no personal investment, except the purchase of an expensive program that promises to teach you how to convert pennies to gold bricks over the weekend. [click to continue…]

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