It’s easy to recognize the value of literacy in our lives. Reading increases our access to education and broadens our social world. Reading develops emotional and mental strength that other modalities of sharing ideas and information cannot replicate. For example, watching a movie made from a book is a different experience than reading the book itself. When we watch a movie we surrender our own creative interpretation of the story to that of the filmmaker; we are removed from the potential of … [Read more...]

Courageous Conversations

I recently finished reading a book by one of my favorite authors, Atul Gawande, M.D., entitled Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters In The End. In his book, Dr. Gawande primarily discusses decisions related to end of life care and outlines the differences between the medical, information-providing model of addressing these issues and newly emerging, more humane ways of having hard conversations. The kind of conversations Gawande encourages readers to have are not just applicable to end … [Read more...]

Happier Kids – Fifteen Minutes at a Time

Each of my kids has presented me with their list of demands for the year – aka their “Christmas List.” Don’t get me wrong; I really love my kids! And I really do want to know what they think will make them happy on December 25th! That being said, I have also learned that no matter how many picture perfect presents they unwrap that morning, the thing that makes and keeps kids happiest is consistent connection. Our undivided attention and interest - on a small scale and a consistent basis - is the … [Read more...]

Why and How to Have A Happy Holiday Season

According to Psychology Today, 45% of Americans “dread the festive season” that will start next week. Although the CDC has debunked the myth that suicides increase during this time of year, almost everyone can agree that the holidays sometimes serve as a “tipping point” for stress. What is billed as “the most wonderful time of the year” is often experienced as feelings of inadequacy and general exhaustion. Therapists like to help clients develop change in their lives, and one way we do that … [Read more...]

Helping Children Manage Their Worries and Fears: Part 4 – The Chill Drill

Anxiety is becoming more common in children; the CDC estimates that 25% of teens are treated for an anxiety disorder. Children and teens who do not experience clinical levels of anxiety also have worries and fears that, if unaddressed, could lead to the development of mood disorders as an adult. So, what do we do to help our worried or anxious child? How can we help them respond skillfully to stress and develop resilience? This series of blog posts on Helping Children Manage Their Worries and … [Read more...]