Sunday - April 14, 2024

The Problem is Part of the Solution

January 13th, 2010

Why do we resent having problems? Scott Peck began his classic The Road Less Traveled by saying that life is difficult and the sooner we accept that, the sooner our lives will improve. So why do we so resent and reject that notion? Why do we feel like failures when problems pop up, especially those that have no ready solution? Where did we get the notion that life should be easier and problems fewer? Are we born with rose-colored glasses? Is this notion peculiar to our American culture? The resentment seems to come because we\’ve made other plans that seem to be continually disrupted by... Read More

Holiday Blues

December 13th, 2009

Why Are the Holidays Difficult? Everyone knows that the holidays are difficult for many people but sometimes it hard to pin down exactly what this season brings up for us. For those who have experienced a significant loss, especially since the last holiday season, getting through that first round of holidays without a loved one seems nigh unto impossible. There is a strong desire to escape…to go somewhere, to hole up in bed, to drink oneself into oblivion. It seems too painful to survive much less find a way to celebrate. When that loved one was the central person in the family, generally the... Read More

Life as a Human Being, Not a Human “Doing”

November 10th, 2009

Our Two Lives In the 1952 novel “The Natural” by Bernard Malamud about a baseball prodigy whose career is sidetracked when he is shot by a sociopathic serial killer, later turned into a Robert Redford (drool) movie, one line rings true for all of us. It goes something like this: We get two lives, one we learn from and the other we get left with. Many of us feel that in our midlife years we are living in the life we got left with. We married the wrong person(s). We divorced and are now alone. Our child rearing efforts left us with one kid in jail and the other not speaking. We married the right... Read More

The Ten Best and Worst Ways to Say “No”

October 12th, 2009

The Top Ten Worst Ways to Say “No.” Ten: Isn\’t it my turn next month? You\’ve got an expectation here that the asker will let you off the hook. Even if you\’re correct, the asker may still want you to do this month too. Nine: I think I hear the teakettle. Delay isn\’t a bad tactic but unless you can whistle be straightforward and tell the asker you will get back to them tomorrow. Eight: I\’m not sure I\’m the best person for the job. The asker will think you\’re begging for a compliment. She wouldn\’t be asking if she didn\’t think... Read More

The Fun Scary Path to Retirement

September 13th, 2009

Looking Back – My Forty Years as a Psychologist This month\’s column records my personal journey as I head for retirement this fall after being employed 40 years as a clinical psychologist. Perhaps my comments on my own journey could have meaning for some of you if you are on a similar journey. I got my very first professional job August 1, 1969 at the tender age of twenty-six. Were we ever really that young? Although I started in a research psychologist position, studying the effects of Ritalin on children\’s learning and behavioral problems, I remember thinking at the time…would... Read More

What Makes Therapy Work

August 13th, 2009

The Treatment Model of Psychotherapy This month\’s column is based on a very interesting presenting I heard a year or so ago from Dr. Arthur C. Bohart about what actually makes therapy work. The traditional assumption is that a patient or client presents their problems and the therapist makes a diagnosis. From that diagnosis, the therapist chooses what treatment to apply (medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, a Rogerian or Jungian approach, etc) to the patient\’s condition. The patient is then “fixed” by the treatment. This is a “treatment” model of therapy. The emphasis... Read More

What to do When Things Fall Apart?

April 13th, 2009

What Is It Like When Things Fall Apart? Just in the past few months, as our worldwide economy is falling apart, I am witnessing an increase in the number of women who feel their own personal lives are falling apart. They are experiencing not only the usual drain of chronic health issues and conflict-filled relationships but the onslaught on unexpected stressors—being fired or laid off from jobs, the sudden tragic deaths of loved ones, and loss of their homes. None of these events have quick fixes and, indeed, many have no “fix” at all. There is no starting a career over in your sixties when... Read More

Sticking With Your Dreams

March 12th, 2009

…by Prill Boyle If you\’re like many Americans, you\’ve already given up on your New Year\’s resolutions. Research shows that 80 percent of people who pledge in January to change their behavior have lost heart by Valentine\’s Day. According to clinical psychologist Dr. Marion Jacobs, author of Take-Charge Living: How to Recast Your Role in Life…One Scene at a Time, part of the problem is that our brains don\’t believe we\’re serious about changing until they see some proof. So whether you have a resolution you haven\’t kept or a dream you haven\’t... Read More

From Setbacks To Stepping Stones

February 13th, 2009

…by Prill Boyle The daughter of a friend of mine was rejected last week from both her first and second-choice law schools. She was wait-listed from the third and hasn\’t heard yet from the fourth. Understandably, she was demoralized. She\’d been dreaming of living in Chicago next year and eventually, law degree in hand, working for the FBI. Her dad asked me to give her a call, so I did. First, I commiserated. Then I tried to buoy her with platitudes. (“When one door closes, another opens,” I said.) But I have to admit that other than assuring her that she\’s loved... Read More

Taking Your Time

December 12th, 2008

…by Prill Boyle “Sixty should be the time to start something new, not put your feet up,” British novelist Mary Wesley (1912-2002) once quipped. Following her own advice, she published her first book in her 70s. Over the next 20 years she wrote nine more, eventually selling upward of 3 million copies. Wesley\’s success, however, was far from sudden. A classic late bloomer, she spent most of her adult life attempting without success to establish herself as a writer. As journalist Rebecca Seal notes in a review of Wesley\’s official biography, “It was almost as... Read More