We often hear how important family is to our health and well-being, especially when we are ill or depressed. However, what do you do when you find that a family member only brings heartache and stress into your life?
Posts Tagged ‘life enrichment’
I remember reading the classic work of Victor Frankl, MD, the psychiatrist who, after spending six years as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps, wrote Man’s Search for Meaning. In it, Dr. Frankl comments that many of the prisoners fell into a state of despair upon realizing that may never be free again. Their sense of helplessness and hopelessness was so overwhelming that they began smoking the cigarettes that were used as a medium of exchange to obtain small amounts of additional rations from their captives. They had simply given up. Others, like Frankl, maintained their sense of identity, their sense of hope and possibility, and were able to find meaning for themselves even under horrendous circumstances.
When I was a graduate student in clinical psychology in the 1960s, psychologists were practicing along the lines of the medical model where the focus was on the treatment of diseases. During that period, the renown psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger, founder of the world famous Menninger’s Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, published a groundbreaking book entitled The Vital Balance, in which he proposed that mental health practitioners should put more emphasis of strengthening the healthy parts of an individual’s personality rather than exclusive focus on the psychopathology. This was a marked departure from the then current emphasis. Around the same time, Dr. Abraham Maslow, a psychology professor at Brandeis University and founder of the human potentials movement, in is book, Toward a Psychology of Being, decried the emphasis on psychopathology and stressed the importance of emphasizing the potential for self-actualization inherent in all people.
Have you ever noticed how small things your partner does can aggravate the hell out of you? These quirks, habits, or idiosyncrasies become like tiny cinders in your eye that drive you crazy. Then one day, out of the blue, your partner comes home from a routine doctor’s visit and announces, “I have cancer”.
Crises befall most of us. Whether an accident, illness, economic, or relationship crisis, sometime in our life we will be confronted with a situation that feels overwhelming. We feel at a loss and become discombobulated not knowing what to do next or how we will be able to get beyond the crisis. Learning to live with these crises is one of the challenges of life.
I know a man who took the California bar six times before he passed it. He has been practicing law for 20 years…and has hated every day of it. When asked why he doesn’t either change careers or try a different type of law, he replies by saying “because I never quit. If nothing else, I am persistent; that’s who I am.” (more…)
You probably have heard, or read in pop psychology books and articles, that people are either right brain or left brain thinkers, referring to those who are more creative and intuitive than their left brain counterparts who are more logical and disciplined in their thinking.
Self-help books are being sold by the millions. People are continually seeking to enrich their lives, fulfill their potential, and find greater happiness. Some people will follow every new form of therapy, take multiple workshops, and explore every new wave for personal growth. Many often expect that by participating in this ever increasing plethora of life enriching exercises they will achieve enlightenment and everlasting peace and harmony in their life immediately; they assume that the journey will be quick and progress is a linear path to change. Most of these folks will be sorely disappointed.
One moment you are walking down the street sporting a T-shirt that says “Life is Good”, enjoying the sunny, Southern California weather, and the next you receive a phone call that from your doctor saying, “the biopsy we took was positive; you have cancer.” And in a second, your world changes, never to be the same again.