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Archive for December, 2011

New Year. New Beginnings.

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Written by: Joe Weeks

As 2011 comes to an end, we reflect on what we have accomplished and what we wish we could have done a little differently. This year has been significant in many ways. Wheather has been a bit different. Countries have been hit with everything from unusually strong earthquakes to it now being Dec. 31st in Boston with still no snow. The Bruins are the NHL Champions!

We have a lot to reflect on.

One thing that everyone had the opportunity to experience this year is growing one year older. We have all gained experience in life. We may have celebrated the birth of a child, or the passing of a loved one. One thing is for certain, 2012 is right around the corner and we will celebrate the beginning of a new year. The real question is, however, what will you be celebrating? What are you looking forward to? What would you like to accomplish in the upcoming year? We all have our New Year’s resolutions. We may wish to become more organized in our lives, or lose unwanted pounds. I ask, however, that you try to reflect on yourself and on your family. Take the time to see how you treat yourself. In the past year have you neglected yourself in any way? If so, maybe it’s time to be a little more selfish in the year ahead. Treat yourself more. Maybe try to define what is important to you in the new year.

How do you want to define your life?

In this new year, I request that we begin by asking ourselves what is important to us and how we would like to see ourselves going forward. Here is a three point tip moving forward into the new year. Do it and see how it feels.

1.) Define what you view as important to you (i.e., Do you value yourself? Do you value your family?).

2.) If there are things in your life that you would like to change, things that you feel you would like to do differently, write them down. Write out what you would like to change and how you plan to change it.

3.) DO IT!!! Don’t let external excuses bog you down. You can come up with a million reasons to not do something. How about we forget that! No excuses. Just do it. If it’s important to you, than why would you put it off?

Challenge yourself this new year and make the best of it. Regardless of how you feel 2011 treated you, you have the power to treat 2012 any way you want.

Good Luck and Happy New Year!

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Categories: Uncategorized

Psychology is Not A Dirty Word

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

When people ask me what I do, the answer comes easily and without hesitation, “I am a therapist”. The reaction to this answer is usually varied into three ways. The first is an expression of interest in the field, usually capped with reasoning for not following through with the dreams of psychology as a career. The second comes from a place of experience stating personal interactions with other therapists, both positive and negative. The final is reference to an old Saturday Night Live skit involving “celebrity” contestants; if you know the reference you will probably enjoy this blog. These three responses all point to a collective knowledge of psychology, but sometimes the assumptions made about the field are inaccurate or narrow minded.

It has been my experience that psychology is often taken as a superfluous and intrusive form of treatment that lacks credibility. This could be due to the examples perpetuated by media, through movies, TV and other outlets. A lot of these examples are satirical takes on personal experiences or hyperbole to stress a point within a story. The problem doesn’t come with the inaccurate portrayal as much as the acceptance of these inferences as truth. I’m not saying that everyone thinks that therapists sit in their comfy leather chair as they doodle and spit out cliché psychology jargon to an unsuspecting  client reclined on a couch, but the underlying feeling of deceit and insincerity does seem to carry on to the general population. The peculiar thing about this portrayal is that it isolates those who could really use the resource of talking to a trained professional.

My experience has been with populations that often are either forced to utilize services by the authorities, or families who feel they have no other alternative. Most of the time, the families and kids I work with come into therapy expecting an experience similar to what is seen in the media. They expect insincerity, apathy and robot like questions like, “how does that make you feel”, or” what is your relationship with your mother like?” Although these questions can be fruitful in understanding the dynamics of the family, they are not always a great place to start. This realization has helped me significantly in developing my style as a therapist. My main goal going into a first session is to develop rapport. I am way more likely to ask what the family or individual like to do, than their drug of choice or how many relatives have been incarcerated. To me the questions about substance abuse and family skeletons will undoubtedly come out, but if you can build rapport with the family you’ll get more than just answers, you’ll get a story. To me stories are very important because they are answers with emotions attached and emotions are integral to therapy.

When I write this blog my focus is going to be similar to how I do therapy. My goal is to write about psychology in an accurate and easily understandable way so that any person can read and take something away from it. I don’t intend to write a “Dear Abby” column because psychology is not about giving advice. My goal is to present fundamental concepts in a relevant and applicable way that everyone can benefit from. I remember reading from many textbooks in my time in school and although I understood the material I couldn’t really grasp it until I saw it for myself. I look to cover many things in this blog, from the importance of communication in families to what is interesting and important to teens. As I stated before I’m not here to give advice, I am merely speaking from personal experience and allowing the reader to discern for themselves what is pertinent and useful. If I can encourage people to look at psychology differently, or at least question the preconceived notions about the field this blog will be a success in my eyes.

Christopher Curran M.A.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Launch!!!

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

When we think of psychology, we think of complex observations and understanding of human cognition and behavior. We think to ourselves, “Why does that person think or act in the way they do?”

Have you ever wondered why your past reflects so powerfully on your current behavior? Have you ever wondered why your family interacts in the manner in which it does? This blog was created to help try and answer those questions and many more like it.

I am a Therapist. I say this with pride and a sense of obligation. The title of Therapist inherently implies a desire to help others achieve and maintain stability in their lives. Our focus on this blog is twofold: to help people get to where they want to be in life, and to also help make the complex issues of the field more accessible and easier to maneuver.

Psychology, in and of itself, is not a field in which advice is given. Therapists are not designed to tell you how to live your life. Rather, a Therapist’s job is to assist in helping you make sense of the things that are important to you. Cliché jargon, stereotyped in movies and jokes that depict the therapist as a distant, emotionless, pseudo-intellect have assisted in the stigmatization of those who wish to seek answers for themselves. This site is designed to not only combat these established stereotypes, but to also make the understanding of these issues more practical and relatable.

Experience is important to this field. Experience gives us an ever increasing ability to hone and master tools that may help others when working with them. Experience allows us to build rapport with individuals and families. My experience in the field is with those whom come from two different types of backgrounds. The first is a family that by one reason or another is essentially forced into therapy by legal mandates or by state departments. The second comes from families who have been referred for services by either other care providers or as self-referrals. With each type of case comes a torrent of questions and situations that must be discussed and observed to gain a better grasp of the individual or family’s situation and goals in life.

My goal for this blog is to create content that is easily maneuverable and understandable. Taken from experience both personally and professionally, the goal is to essentially make the field of psychology more accessible to everyone. Questions and comments are invited and encouraged, but the point is to not give advice, but rather, provide understanding.

Joe Weeks, MA

Categories: Uncategorized
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