Are Your Friends Making You Fat?

This is the cover story that sure caught my attention in a recent New York Times Magazine edition (9/13). And it continued with: “Is Happiness Catching? Your friends and even your friends’ friends can make you quit smoking, eat too much or get happy…a look at the emerging science of social contagion.” “Look around and you’ll see a spreading and, what appears to be unstoppable affliction in our culture.” OK, leaving aside the fact that correlation does not mean causation, there are some compelling insights in this line of reasoning. As I read further, the obesity epidemic made more sense….

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The Dual Nature of Inflammation

How can inflammation signal healing yet at the same time, be the culprit in undermining our good health? We’ve all had the experience of inflammation – we trip or fall, our ankle or knee swells. We get a surface cut, it bleeds. We get blisters or hotspots, there’s redness and warmth. These signs of inflammation just mean that “the body” is rushing in with the “first aid” it needs to heal. And after a few days, the swelling goes down, redness begins to dissipate, and our white blood cells and T-cells return to their usual “at ease” patrol. Healing is…

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Why Self-Compassion is Becoming a Psychotherapist’s Best Between Session Tool

Psychotherapy can be incredibly effective – we all know this. It is truly amazing how much can be accomplished between a patient and a therapist in each session. “Can we make the psychotherapy experience portable?” But the world outside the therapist’s door can often be cold, harsh, and lonely to vulnerable patients. Regression can occur while patients are still days or weeks away from their next session. We’re all too familiar with that scenario (and practitioners in other areas of healthcare can attest to this as well.) A patient leaves the office…they’ve made some progress, or sometimes they feel they…

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Ericksonian Hypnosis

Remember “You are getting sleepy” after the hypnotist urges his patient to stare at a swinging pocket watch? Popularized on TV and in the movies for years, this became the lay person’s image of hypnosis. Filled with a good deal of mystery and magic, audiences held their breath until the suspense of trance released itself into awakening. And voila! Eyes opened and consciousness returned. Of course, this isn’t how hypnosis works, but it’s intriguing to look at perceptions surrounding its practice. “…we know now that such an authoritarian-like approach can trigger resistance…” With uncanny control, the hypnotist would tell the…

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