Blog & Video Archives

Past Bridge Street Mental Health segment with accompanying text.

Loneliness and the Need for Human Connection

In the wake of Valentine’s Day, it is important to remember the 49% of Americans who do not celebrate it and 46% who struggle with loneliness. The problem is so great that it has even been called a national epidemic.

To be clear, loneliness is different from living or simply being alone or desiring solitude. Loneliness is the experience of sadness and desperation which comes from not having intimate human connection. Loneliness can spring from isolation , being alone and not having friends but is also true that even married people or embers of large families or communities can be lonely and feel its pain.It is also important to understand the loneliness is not simply an unpleasant feeling. Loneliness can cause serious medical complications and is correlated with shortening life spans. Surprisingly, loneliness is a greater risk to longevity than smoking a half pack of cigarettes a day or being obese.

So, if you are in a lonely place, the first thing to remember is that it is not a terminal condition. Here are some tips to remember if you struggle with loneliness:

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Valentieen’s Day and Evolution of Romantic Love from the Romans to #MeToo

As Valentine’s Day approaches, it is a good time to look at the state of romance in America and how it has changed over the centuries. To do so is to recognize that relations between men and women have significantly changed due to the impact of the #MeToo movement. While the full impact of this consciousness-raising tidal wave is not fully known, it is clear that women (and hopefully men) are not going to tolerate the sexual abuse and extortion which, unfortunately, has been so prevalent in the past. While some men worry that romance has been ruined by those who have spoken the truth, I beg to differ. Most of us understand that offensive and exploitative behavior have no place in loving relationships. Likewise, there is no evidence that women’s increased awareness and caution has diminished their interest in romance or ruined the spirit of Valentine’s Day for men who know how to behave properly. Quite to the contrary, I suggest that this revolutionary movement has taken a major step in creating better, more equal and more intimate relationships between men and women than were possible in prior times.
Indeed, looking at Valentine’s Day as a symbol of cultural attitudes concerning love, it is obvious that our understanding of romance and the relations between men and women has evolved and progressed over time. Here is a brief review of how Valentine’s Day has changed over the centuries.

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Becoming a Good Listener: From Advice Giving to Non-Anxious Listening

While communication is a complex topic, a key ingredient is empathic, non-anxious listening. But, putting our thoughts and emotions aside and being able to focus on another person is not easy. There are three common problems which get in the way of sensitive listening and create unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts between couples and among families, friends and workmates. Fortunately , these problems can be eliminated with some information and a little practice. Here are the basics:

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A Psychological Year in Review: Taking emotional and spiritual stock of the year that was

This time of year is filled with year-in-review lists. Things like the best movies, the biggest news stories and the famous people who have died flood the media and internet.
Likewise, as we anticipate the beginning of the new year, people’s thoughts turn to new year’s resolutions and things they would like to change about themselves and improve on in the following year.
In this spirit I wish to recommend doing a psychological year-in-review. A PYIR is a time to look back and remember moments which have increased your understanding and have had a lasting impact on your outlook of life, that is the times which have helped you to make sense of the world and your place in it.

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Myths about and Tips for Dealing with Grief During the Holidays

As the holidays approach, despite the celebrations, gift giving and merriment, many experience the pain of going through festive times in the wake of recent loss. Others are haunted by past memories of departed loved ones. Death, divorce, losing a job are just a few of the kinds of losses that seem more difficult at this time of year.
For those who are the friends and family of those who have suffered losses, the holidays can be tricky as well. Not knowing what to say or how to act often makes for awkward or uncomfortable encounters.
Here are some tips to help you and those your love better deal with grief and grieving .

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So, what’s the big deal with journaling ? Why putting feelings in to words is so important.

For a long time therapists have been telling their clients to write in personal journals and for about 10 years , America’s military has used journaling as a required technique to help soldiers who suffer from PTSD. While, many folks know that journaling can help one to deal with unpleasant emotions and to clarify one’s confused feelings, many don’t understand how it works or why putting disturbing experience into words is so important for emotional healing. If you are one of those folks who would like to better understand what is going on in our brain and consciousness when we journal, you have come to the right place !

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Recapturing Gratitude in Turbulent Times

It’s Thanksgiving time and (if you can resist the pressure from the malls and media to ignore it in order to push Christmas shopping) its lesson of GRADTITIDE is one that is vitally important for us today.
Ironically , the image of the pilgrims celebrating, in the wake of such unimaginable hardship, is sometimes difficult to comprehend. Nonetheless, it stands as an important reminder for us that , in even the worst of times, there is always something for which to be grateful.
Today, especially, when the threats and uncertainties of the world can be overwhelming, it is important to understand that getting in touch with our sense of is an gratitude is not only a nice thing to feel but that it is an integral part of our mental and spiritual health. That said, in the midst of difficult times, accessing a sense of gratitude is not easy. It is important to understand the obstacles that keep us from feeling gratitude so that we may re-capture this profound awareness. Here are some observations and tips to help us to increase our awareness and deepen our appreciation of our blessings:

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In Praise of Marriage

Since so many of my commentaries have been centered around psychological disorders, for this segment I decided this time to post one which is positive and affirming. One of the most positive and affirming institutions that I can think of is the institution of marriage.
Frankly, marriage’s reputation in the modern world is not so great. Such things as high divorce rates, infidelity and domestic violence have caused many to postpone or even forgo marriage altogether. When folks are ready to marry, at what ever age, it is important to under that that good marriages don’t “just happen”. Successfully blending two individuals into a working partnership is neither automatic or easy. We have learned that for marriage to thrive the partners must have the knowledge of some basic skills as well as the commitment to working through inevitable conflicts and disagreements.
Given the all problems and work required, many wonder, “Is marriage worth the effort or am I better off staying single?” Fortunately, there has been a lot of research regarding the differences between married and non- married folks and, as a result, there are a lot of statistics that show that happily married folks do a lot better in life in many ways. In addition to the dramatic financial and tax benefits, here are some other advantages, married people enjoy compared to single folks :

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Understanding the Deepeer Meaning behind Ghosts and Zombies : The psychological significance of Halloween.

With Halloween approaching, it’s a good time to take a look at why, in an age which is defined by science and technology, so many folks are still fascinated by things like ghosts and zombies. Underneath the fun and games associated with this spooky holiday, there is deeper and even spiritual element which is emotionally and psychologically significant.

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Bursting Some Myths About Trauma Related Memories

The media coverage of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court has exposed just how ignorant and insensitive many Americans are about the reality and consequences of sexual assault particularly as it pertains to memory. What we are witnessing in this political struggle is a contest between traditional views and modern science concerning the way traumatic memories are stored and recalled. The responses made in defense of the nominee, have inadvertently revealed our culture’s prejudice and disbelief regarding sexual assault. Criticism of accusers have also exposed an astonishing level of insensitivity and even hostility toward victims. In that context, here are three serious misconceptions that need correction.

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Tips for Coping with Disturbing Headlines in the News

Many folks have been shaken by the intense media coverage of recent stories concerning things like the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, political wrangling, and , worst, the devastating force of hurricane Florence. Fortunately there are several effective tools anyone can employ to reduce the disruptive effects of disturbing stories and decrease your vulnerability to a panic reaction. Here is a brief list of things to try:

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APPRECIATING THE DEEPER SIGNIFICANCE OF LABOR DAY: The importance of leisure and self care

Beyond being an end of summer long week-end and its significance for more humane public policy, Labor Day is also a symbolic reminder that there is more to life than work. Likewise , modern research has shown that taking time off from work and having time for leisure activities is not a luxury but is an essential part of physical, emotional , social and spiritual health. Unfortunately, due to religious and cultural influences a negative prejudice against leisure prevents some from including leisure into their self-care routines. Here is why leisure is so important.

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Psychotherapy as Detective Work: Tips for uncovering what’s really bothering you

Our last segment (8/5/2018) discussed how anger was often misplaced and dumped on individuals who were not really the source of our problem. I want to expand on the notion that the source of our dysphoric feelings aer often hidden and needs to be uncovered. Further, there are some clues to help you solve the case and resolve difficulties in your life. One way to understand psychotherapy is to see it as a process of emotional detective work wherein you (or you and your therapist) work together to solve the mystery of your unhappiness and discover more positive and constructive options.
Indeed understanding psychotherapy as emotional detective work is a helpful way to grasp this sometimes mysterious science.

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Emotional Dumping: How to avoid displacing undeserved anger on your mate

Emotional dumping or displacement is when a partner gets angry at his/her mate and unfairly unloads frustration on him/her even though s/he is completely or mostly innocent. Misplaced anger is a common problem married folks often experience. The resentment caused by it can build up and over time, lead to ever more serious relational strife. Fortunately, a couple the basics of psychological dynamics can go a long way to prevent and avoid emotional dumping. Here are some tips for both the “dumper” and the innocent victim.

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How Pornography Can Harm Your Marriage: It’s Not What You Think !

In recent years, the term “porn addiction” has become a common and colloquial way of referring to a compulsive behavior related to the viewing pornographic imagery.
While the term porn addiction neither meets the medical criterion for an addiction nor is it a recognized diagnostic category in the DSM 5, there is no doubt that in recent years pornography has become the source of a serious and growing problem in many marriages. Unfortunately, many approaches either minimize or condemn the issue without really understanding or healing the damage using pornography can do to a marriage.

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2016

2015

Rekindling Passion: Part Two – The Secret to Re-igniting the Fames of Desire

 

2012

Flirting with Your Spouse

 

2011

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