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Breaking the Habit Loop

An Expert Explains What It Really Takes to Change Behavior

Jared DeFife

By Jared DeFife - It’s time for a new year and a new you, right? Unfortunately, some old acquaintances aren’t too soon forgotten, and our bad habits tend to follow us into the New Year. Rather than try to change them outright, New York Times reporter and bestselling author Charles Duhigg says we should pay more attention to analyzing and diagnosing what he calls The Habit Loop.

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The Power of the Emotional Brain

Using Brain Science to Spark Behavioral Change

Brent Atkinson

By Brent Atkinson - Throughout history, we’ve been operating under a great deception—we tend to believe that our thoughts and actions result largely from our conscious intentions. In fact, while our rational mind has a degree of veto power, the inclinations that fuel our perceptions, interpretations, and actions primarily come from neural processes that operate beneath the level of awareness. The emotional brain plays a crucial role in the machinery of rationality: the brain generates quick, gut-level emotional reactions that collectively serve as a guidance system for reasoning.

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A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Solution for Losing Weight

Judith Beck on Why CBT Could Be Your Best Weight Loss Strategy

Judith Beck

Why is it so difficult to lose weight and keep it off? From the viewpoint of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the reason isn’t hard to find: knowing what to do and knowing how to get yourself to do it are entirely separate skills. When it comes to changing behavior, especially long-term, habitual patterns, getting yourself to do something different, even when you know it’s good for you, depends largely on what you tell yourself: that is, on your thinking. Outlined here is a program I’ve developed for nonpsychiatric (and noneating-disordered) individuals that utilizes the basic principles of CBT to address overeating directly.

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Confronting the Culture of the Busy Child in Therapy

The Epidemic of Overscheduling Our Children

William Doherty

In previous decades, we came to see sexism and racism as problems we could no longer ignore in our work. I have a nomination for the problem of this decade: for many kids, childhood is becoming a rat race of hyperscheduling, overbusyness, and loss of family time. The problem is all around us, but we haven't noticed how many of our children need daily planners to manage their schedules of soccer, hockey, piano, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, baseball, football, karate, gymnastics, dance, violin, band, craft clubs, foreign-language classes, academic-enrichment courses, and religious activities. Parents have become recreation directors on the family cruise ship.

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Should Depression Be Treated as a Chronic Condition?

Rethinking How We Deal with Depression

Margaret Wehrenberg

I’ve begun to put aside my idealized view that unless people overcome their difficulties once and for all, therapy is somehow a failure. More and more, that perspective seems simplistic and disconnected from the realities of what psychotherapy, no matter how skillful the clinician may be, can actually provide. So what if we start to think differently about this? What if we view anxiety and depression—especially generalized anxiety and dysphoric states of mild and moderate depressions—not as disorders that will be cured, but as chronic, relapsing, remitting disorders?

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