New Study Shows Talk Therapy Can Change Brain Function of Schizophrenics

Talk therapy can be best understood as physical therapy for the brain.  Many previous studies have been shown to have a positive impact on the brain functioning of depressed and anxious patients, changing the way clients’ brains process, feel, and respond to stress.  Exciting new research shows that even patients who suffer from psychosis (e.g., intrusive auditory and visual hallucinations) and schizophrenia can experience significant improvements in brain function as the result of talk therapy.   But how? Cognitive Behavioral… Read more

“I’m Just Mad About Saffron. And Saffron’s Mad About…Treating Depression.” New Study Says.

I’m just mad about saffron and saffron’s mad about me.  -Mellow Yellow by Donovan A new review of 6 randomized, controlled trials found that the spice, saffron, was as effective for treating depression as Prozac and Tofranil.  The sample sizes of the studies are small but the results are tremendously promising insofar as study participants using  saffron as an anti-depressant do not appear to suffer from the side effects that are common to pharmaceuticals, such as sleepiness, constipation and sexual… Read more

Liar, Liar: New Study Reveals 3 Types of Lies

New research points to three different ways we deceive others. Most people are aware of first two categories of lies; deception and withholding.  Deception, involves intentionally giving false information, and withholding, involves intentionally failing to disclose information.  But have you ever heard about “paltering?” Other than being a great SAT word, paltering involves misleading by telling the truth.  Often, a palterer uses truth in an overly-specific and legalistic way. For instance, imagine a philandering husband who had a one-night stand… Read more

Therapy Alone Is Better Than Meds or Combined Approach for Treating Anxiety, Says New Research

A new study found that cognitive therapy alone is the most effective treatment for anxiety, beating both medication-only and combined medication and therapy.  The ten-year study found that 85% of people who received CBT alone for anxiety had successful treatment outcomes, which was a significantly higher recovery rate than either those who are treated with medication alone or with medication and therapy. The reason, researchers point out, is that people who are treated with meds (either alone or combined with therapy)… Read more

Is Anxiety Sinful? A Faithful Response to the Problem of Fear

Of course, anxiety is not sinful, but saying that is little comfort to Christians who suffer with anxiety and feel that, somehow, they are letting God down by feeling the way they do. If you, or someone you love, is struggling with persistent worry or anxiety, I hope you will find this article I wrote for the latest issue of America magazine a source of comfort and strength. Here is a sample of what you’ll find…. We are not to… Read more

5 Tips For Avoiding Family Holiday Drama

Ah, Christmas. A solemn, joyful time of year for Christians, where silent and holy nights are de rigueur and Norman Rockwell springs eternal in the collective unconscious of the American mind.  And then it happens…. You try–contrary to what conventional wisdom says about the subject–to go home again. Now, let me state right up front that this article is not for those of you who can’t wait to fly home and reenact your own Currier and Ives Christmas in all your old haunts… Read more

New Study Finds Parental Conflict/Lack of Affection Impairs Brain Development in Teens

Once again, research shows that parenting styles directly impact brain development and predict the likelihood of emotional problems in adolescence and adulthood. New research finds that those who experience relatively common family problems early in childhood have an increased risk of mental health issues later on.The study is one of the first to look at relatively common family problems–typically mild to moderate in severity–and tie these up to changes in the brain’s development (Walsh et al., 2014). Brain imaging data… Read more

This is Your Brain on Religion. Any Questions?

New research support the notion that religious faith is a neurological imperative of being human. a new study shows through functional MRI scans that such religious and spiritual experiences can be rewarding to your brain. They activate the same reward systems between your ears as do feelings of love, being moved by music and even doing drugs, according to the study, which was published in the journal Social Neuroscience on Tuesday. “These are areas of the brain that seem like they should… Read more

The Good Samaritan:  Not Just a Good Neighbor

A guest post by Pastoral Solutions Clinical Counselor, Dave McClow, M.Div., LMFT, LCSW. Providence is a powerful force—it’s God’s invisible hand guiding our lives.  I experience Providence in different ways.  Most frequently it happens on the phone with my clients when a story or metaphor comes to mind that I don’t normally use, and it hits home in a way I could not have possibly planned.  It happens in used-book stores (one of my vices).   I will find a book… Read more

Why So Down? Studies Show Humans Are Wired to Emphasize The Negative, UNLESS….

Why is it that we can do 100 things right but obsess about the 1 thing that went wrong?  Or, why do we ignore the dozens of things the people around us do to be kind but then fuss about the 1 thing they miss?  It turns out that, except for one condition (which I’ll share below) human beings are actually wired to be negative. In his book The Neurobiology of Human Relationships, Pepperdine psychologist, Louis Cozolino, reveals how research shows that the… Read more

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