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Feelings

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.

While conversing with a colleague recently, discussing the progress and vagaries of her doctoral dissertation and the general trends of the day, I began to think about the financial triage that has come to redefine daily life for so many people impacted negatively by the dismal economic environment in which we all find ourselves bobbing like corks.  Essentially, almost everyone. [click to continue…]

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This column originally appeared in the Orange County Register.

America, in its relative youthfulness, still perceives itself as morally, politically and militarily invincible, devoid of the stabilizing historical context that might actually insure the retention of its truly consequential status. [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.

One more time…

Once again, thin veneers of public pose have cracked exposing very private lives.  So common as to be utterly prosaic, another powerful politician has been caught in an extramarital tryst with a political groupie, a less dominant woman aroused by power. [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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