Brain Science and Psychotherapy: The Next Step

Last month at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium in Washington DC, I gave a talk to ~ 3500 people: scary but wonderful! Brain Science and Psychotherapy: The Next Step – looked at the benefits and pitfalls of brain science, plus focused on a key point: if we don’t take the time to install our useful experiences,

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Stay Well

Are you taking care of yourself? The Practice Stay well. Why? [Note: This JOT is adapted from Mother Nurture, a book written for mothers - focusing on typical parenting situations and gender differences that are experienced by many, though not all, mothers and fathers, and by parents in same sex relationships. Parenting is a complex

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Focusing on the Positive

Q: If you focus on the positive for long enough, does it actually make your brain more receptive to doing that? Turn it into “velcro” for happiness, to use your expression? A: Research shows that repeated practice of any positive behavior (e.g., gratitude) will increasingly incline the mind in that direction. Presumably, since all mental

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Intention of Non-Ill Will

Here we give up angry, punishing reactions toward others, animals, plants, and things. If such attitudes arise, we resolve not to feed them, and to cut them off as fast as we can. The Buddha placed great stress on the importance of releasing ill will. In the extreme, he said that even when we are

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Lower Your Stress

Can you take a moment? The Practice: Lower your stress Why? [Note: This JOT is adapted from Mother Nurture - a book written for mothers - focusing on typical situations that are experienced by many, though not all, mothers during the years before their children enter grade school. These are most commonly the years when

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Mindful Presence

What Is Mindful Presence? Let’s unpack those two words, mindful presence. Mindfulness is simply a clear, non-judgmental awareness of your inner and outer worlds. In particular, it’s an awareness of the flow of experience in your inner world – an alert observing of your thoughts, emotions, body sensations, desires, memories, images, personality dynamics, attitudes, etc.

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Key Points of Letting Go

“Let go a little, you’ll have a little happiness. Let go completely, you’ll be completely happy.” Letting Go of Body Sensations Ordinary breathing, focusing on exhalation, intending to let go. Diaphragm breathing. Breath of fire. Heartmath: Breathing evenly through the heart with a positive emotion. Scanning the body and releasing tension. Progressive relaxation. Using imagery

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Is the “Self” Real?

Is the “Self” real? What’s the nature of the sense of being that remains when parts of the psyche fall away? The answer depends on how you define “Self.”  I use that word to refer to the central “I” that’s presumed in Western psychology and philosophy (and everyday usage) to be the owner of experiences and

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The Effect of Relationships on the Evolving Human Brain

Your brain is the product of 3.5 billion years of intense evolutionary pressure, including 2.7 million years as tool-using hominids and over 100,000 years as homo sapiens. Human DNA is about 98-99% identical to chimpanzee DNA. But that crucial 1-2% difference is mainly the genetic factors affecting the brain – especially for its relationship functions.

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Feel Whole

What’s left out? The Practice: Feel whole. Why? When I look back on mistakes I’ve made – like dumping my anger on someone, making assumptions in haste, partying too much, losing my nerve, being afraid to speak from my heart – in all cases a part of me had taken over. You know what I

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