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Archive for the ‘Uncertainty’ Category

10 Creative Decision Making Techniques

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 by Dr. Ilona L. Tobin

Most of us have our own way of making decisions. We may carefully consider the pros and cons, consult with experts or ask loved ones. Here are 10 more unusual methods to try.

1. Flip a coin. Then notice your first reaction. If it lands on the “wrong” choice, you’ll feel disappointed.
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Ilona Tobin has been a psychologist and a marriage and family therapist for more than 25 years in Birmingham, Michigan. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory.

You Can Feel Safer

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 by Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

Feeling safer is a tricky subject, with complications that can be both personal and political.

Yes, there are real threats out there, but evolution and other factors have left a lot of us walking around in a kind of paranoid trance. I’ve been there myself, and the results include feeling less peaceful and hopeful, and more worried and cranky, than is right.
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Dr. Hanson is a neuropsychologist in San Rafael, California. His practice includes adults, couples, families, and children, as well as psychological assessments of children and adults related to temperament, school performance, and educational and vocational planning. For more information, please visit his listing on the Therapist Directory

And the Clock Keeps Ticking…

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 by Ruth Gordon, LCSW

I know, that’s a pretty ominous title, but it was the best I could come up with. Worry not, this is not a treatise on doom and gloom.

What I have been thinking about is that, so often, we decide not to do something because, “I’m too old” or “I’ve never done it before”. The trouble with this attitude is that whether we stretch ourselves or not; whether or not we explore our enthusiasms, the time will pass. If we watch life from the sidelines we are stuck with: “Should ‘uv, would ‘uv, could ‘uv”. Who wants that? (more…)

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Ruth Gordon is licensed clinical social worker in both Massachusetts and Florida. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…

Thursday, February 4th, 2010 by Ruth Gordon, LCSW

It’s always unsettling, to say the least, when facing an inevitable unwelcome event that will occur at some unknown time in the future. This could be anything from going to the dentist to a serious loss. There hangs the sword of Damocles and we are helpless to make it vanish or to slither out from under it — we are stuck.

We can steel ourselves, go into denial, round up a crew of advisors, or utilize any one of a number of possible reinforcements.
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Ruth Gordon is licensed clinical social worker in both Massachusetts and Florida. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.

Terribilities: Exploring the Origins of Anxiety

Monday, May 18th, 2009 by Mauri-Lynne Heller

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.

It is undeniably true that we face very complex concerns that demand acknowledgement and realistic adjustments. Yet emotional responses, particularly anxiety, speak of feelings rumbling deep beneath the surface of an outer constellation of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Simply treating a symptom may bring temporary relief but will do nothing to achieve more permanent emotional stability. Anxiety can be used as a vehicle for visceral growth only when its dynamics are understood.

A patient who’d just been pitched into the disequilibrium of a panic attack recently observed that most of the things about which he worries do not actually transpire, yet awareness doesn’t diminish his anxiety. His worries unfold like choppy waves battering the beach: he’ll be laid off; he’ll crash his car and be unable to buy a new one; he’ll end up on a breadline, barefoot, singing a charmless version of “Buddy can you spare a dime.” He won’t even be able to do that, because he doesn’t actually know the lyrics to “Buddy can you spare a dime.” His humor cannot dispel the very real emotional disquiet he faces daily.

My patient is flooded with distressing images of himself and helpless feelings about these images. His body reacts with its own flood of stress hormones, muscle contractions, irregular breathing and heart rhythms. He identifies this convergence of mind-body dysregulation as anxiety and attributes it to the economy. While the economy does represent a palpably immediate context, the vulnerabilities of infancy constitute the real source of his anxiety.

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Mauri-Lynne Heller is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Psychoanalyst in private practice in Southern California. A graduate of Newport Psychoanalytic Institute and member of Newport Center for Psychoanalytic Studies, she is also an active member of the Writing and Research Task Force. A regular contributor to the online Health and Fitness Pages of the Orange Counter Register, her column "Inside Out" appears twice monthly. She is also a supervisor to clinical interns and a writing/editorial consultant. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory

Order Out of Chaos: Embracing Uncertainty

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 by Mel Schwartz, LCSW

The words, order and chaos, are particularly value laden. We tend to embrace order and avoid chaos at all costs. I’ve come to wonder why that is so. And more to the point, what do we mean by order or chaos? Let’s start by examining what these terms suggest.

The notion of order is equivalent to a sense of predictability. Predictability in this form lets us know what we can expect. It speaks almost of a range of motion. A pendulum, unaffected by friction, will follow its predetermined path. We know just how far it will travel to either point in its arc before beginning its return. Predictability relies upon certainty and measurable outcomes. It has been a major tenet of our culture and our science since Newton introduced the motif of determinism in the 17th century. This range of predictable order is known as equilibrium.

In our lives, order suggests that we know the parameters of our experience, as though the boundaries and limits are determined in advance. The emotional and psychological highs and lows are familiar. The rules of relationship are understood. Knowing the range of our experiences provides a sense of order. As such, order creates a comfort zone as we can be assured of familiar terrain, even if that familiarity doesn’t serve us.

Chaos, on the other hand, suggests an absence of predictability. It triggers the unknown, which for most people is very problematic if not outright daunting. It is a venturing into uncertain territory, far from the familiar zone. Sometimes life’s transitions or crises present chaos in the form of illness, death, divorce, job loss, etc. These events are thrust upon us and we do the best we can to cope with them, aided by family and professional support. Occasionally, we buffer the roller coaster ride through chaos with alcohol, medication and/or therapy.

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Mel Schwartz is a psychotherapist with offices in Westport Ct and NYC. For more information, please visit his listing on the Therapist Directory or his website. This article may not be reprinted, reproduced, or retransmitted in whole or in part without the express written consent of the author.