This Blog Is About

This blog is about---You! Each and every post is about you. Use it to challenge your usual patterns, as a tool for self-discovery, to stimulate your thinking, to learn about yourself and to answer your questions about others.

Monday, November 28, 2011

An Offer

Do you want to be in therapy with me?

Have you ever thought that you might like to try therapy?  Maybe you have been in therapy before and you now would like to see me.  You might be someone reading this blog because you want to be in therapy.
Possibly you have been looking for a therapist.
I am going to be accepting new clients at a reduced rate beginning on January 1.  Most psychotherapy fees range somewhere between $100 and $200 per session.  My standard fee is $120.  For the month of January, if you enter therapy with me, your fee per session will be $65.  

The fee will remain at this rate for one year or until there is a break in treatment of 3 months or more.
This is an opportunity to benefit from being in the process of therapy, with a very experienced therapist, in a private practice setting.
In case you are new to therapy, the sessions are about 45 to 50 minutes long and take place once a week.  To therapy you can bring a wide range of problems - for discussion, for acknowledegement,  for suggestions, and for discerning listening.
Call me now to get a January appointment.
You can contact me to arrange an appointment for this - what shall we call it?---sale, discounted fee, gift to my readers, - how about we just say, inexpensive therapy opportunity---at my office phone:  

510 724-4711.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Your Self-Editor

Here's another way you can improve your relations with others.

The Dalai Lama is repeatedly exhorting us to be kind to each other.  Why does he have to say this over and over?  It seems like if we don't self-edit, any of us can be suddenly sorry about what was just said.
Personally I don't do that on purpose.  But, sometimes some unfortunate remark escapes from me and when I see it land, I am full of instant regret.  Yes, we all slip.  Why does that happen?  It's just the frustrations, or fatigue, or disappointment that we have absorbed, being released.

The problem is, it sometimes gets released on a person; they are innocent and suddenly they feel the sting.  If it happens, all is not lost.  You can apologize.  You can attempt to make it up to the victim.  But, oh, wouldn't it be better if it didn't happen in the first place?  Ms. Flake has a helpful post toward that end:

Cheri Augustine Flake

"...I just wanted to share the wise words that I learned from one of my mentors that I like to teach to my clients. Try to consider the following before speaking (or, I guess, writing) anyone...about anything:

Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?

The answer to all three does not need to be 'yes' in order to express yourself, but just to have considered the questions before acting.

Mostly, I guess the lesson is, yes, think before you speak. But also, know that you don't have to say everything that you think.

Could you leave a conference knowing full well that you are "more" of an expert than the presenter without anyone else knowing it?

Or, could you listen to someone's account of their exciting trip to India and all of its glory without mentioning that you've been there 3 times before?

My husband is one of the smartest people I've ever met as well as the most humble. His closest friends don't know that he was Valedictorian of his class, or about his scholarships, degrees or honors. Even when people are speaking about topics of which I know he is an expert, he seems the most quiet.

I try model this behavior because I admire it. I mean, do people have to know all that I know???


Just my humble take on things...

Have a lovely week, y'all!"


Cheri Augustine Flake, LCSW
It would be interesting to hear your own stories related to this post.  (Comment)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Some Things Are Worth Repeating

And so you will find me saying some things more than once.

These two were working  and working hard when this photo was taken but look at the sparkle in those eyes and those full-out smiles. 

Shifting focus away from worry and toward gratitude will reduce stress.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"From Self-Medication to Intoxication: American Culture's Addiction to No-Suffering"

Psychiatry Grand Rounds, Herrick Hospital:  A Critique of the Self-Medication Hypothesis by Anna Lembke, MD, Stanford University
Held on November 7, 2011

Since 1985, when Edward Khantzian came up with the concept of addiction being the result of self-medication (i.e., the individual doesn't feel right so they use street drugs/alcohol to experience more balance), it has been in usage by most therapists and has become commonly believed.   

The addict or substance abuser  asks for treatment of his personal problems believing this (assistance with resolution of emotional distress) will make it possible to give up the chemical use.  The assumption is that early childhood trauma or an extremely distressing life event, internal psychological suffering or psychiatric symptoms, triggered the addictive use of alcohol or drugs.  However, it turns out, according to Dr. Lembke, who has reviewed hundreds of studies, testing this hypothesis, that there is no evidence for this idea.  She proposes that the evidence shows a substance use disorder to be an independent problem.
This, despite the fact that there is a high rate of co-occurrence.  For example, those diagnosed with an anti-social personality disorder show an 80% rate of substance use disorder, those with bipolar 1 disorder have a 60% co-occurrence rate, and schizophrenics have been found to have a 50%  rate of substance use disorders, while the "regular population" has a rate of 15%.  Nonetheless, a case cannot  be made for someone using a particular substance because it addresses their specific disorder since some of the studies tested what people would do given the free option to choose and full access to mind-altering chemicals.  It turns out, we humans all like the same things.  

People, according to this presentation actually get involved with substances due to either boredom (often the case with marijuana) or to the idea that all suffering should be eliminated and that to take a pill is the way to get rid of it.  Actually, the evidence is for the  reverse; stopping substance abuse leads to healing, it turns out
Dr. Lembke suggests, as did Joan Zweben (see earlier post:, that individuals who are having trouble with the overuse of a substance, experiment with not using. She suggests  4 weeks (the amount of time needed for the brain to reach a new homeostasis) and then to follow that with an evaluation:  
What was different?  What was better?  Was anything worse?  Etc.

The best treatment targets both disorders (whatever is personally troubling the individual as well as the substance use disorder).  It should be an integrated treatment, not one in the absence of the other nor one first and then the other.  Dr. Lembke feels it is possible to help anyone and that "...self-medication is not medicinal."

(The illustration from an artwork by Michael Parkes, titled See No Evil, I chose because the problems discussed here are so hard for many people to talk about and therefore sometimes shame is felt about one's use of substances which can lead to denial)

This point of view is different from what is usually put forward on this topic; do you have any comments?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Simple Way to Improve Your Health

Apply the research results that have been recently coming out and reduce your chance of disease by simply making a point of getting up every hour and walking around a bit or having a little stretch.  Such a simple new habit to establish which could make quite a difference in your future.

"Patel and others also have investigated the health dangers of sitting too long without moving around, which is called "sitting disease." 

In a study of 123,000 people, she found that the more time people spent sitting, the higher their risk of dying early. "Even among individuals who were regularly active, the risk of dying prematurely was higher among those who spent more time sitting," she says.
Even if you are doing half an hour of aerobic activity a day, you need to make sure you don't sit the rest of the day, Patel says. "You have to get up and take breaks from sitting."
Emerging research indicates that prolonged sitting also increases the risk of some types of cancer, such as colon, endometrial and ovarian cancers, Friedenreich says.
James Levine, a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., says many people sit an average of seven to 9 hours a day. "If you've sat for an hour, you've probably sat too long," he says.
Friedenreich is looking into why exercise reduces cancer risk. In a study of 320 post-menopausal women, she has found that physical activity appears to decrease the risk of cancer by increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing body fat, inflammation, metabolic hormones and sex steroids hormones."
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Copyright 2011 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Your Vision

                             I believe that All human beings are creative beings

"Inspiration comes from everything.  It is the spark within your soul that entices you to create, the need to leave behind something greater than yourself.  Whether you are creating works of art or designing your day, the creative soul needs a place..." or a time or the unoccupied space, to be able to emerge.
Organize your life so that there is some time for your dreams to be dreamt, your thoughts to be formed and your vision to become more and more finely tuned.
(quote from Soft Surroundings and art piece from Anthropologie)