Blog & Video Archives

Past Bridge Street Mental Health segment with accompanying text.

How Healthy is your Marriage?

How healthy is your marriage ? If you’re not sure maybe it’s time for marital check-up. Here is a check-list of the vital elements which create satisfying and lasting marriages. They can help you to spot trouble before it gets out of hand. As you go through these factors don’t get discouraged. No marriage gets a perfect score. For couples who are experiencing difficulties, however, keeping these elements in mind can help locate the source of the trouble and suggest what aspect of the relationship needs work. The good news is that, with a little learning and effort, problems can be overcome and your marriage can become the greatest blessing in your life.

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The Experience Awe and the Importance of Feeling Small

If you have ever witnessed an amazing sunset, looked up at the stars and imagined the vastness of the universe or simply stood at the base of an immense, magnificent building, you know the feeling of awe — that reverential feeling of amazement ,fear and wonder which comes from realizing that you are but a small part of the immense larger reality which is the universe. Recently, science is reporting just how important the feeling of awe is for our emotional, spiritual, physical and social health. If it has been too long since you have felt real awe, don’t despair. You can learn to discover something awesome in almost any situation.* To begin:

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A Reasonable Approach for Discussing Masturbation and Pornography: Part 1

Despite all of the research and medical science, discomfort about masturbation continues especially among older conservative Christians who view it as immoral and sinful. Indeed , the harsh and threatening lessons regarding masturbation learned in childhood have created deep feelings of shame are hard to shake. Further, the anti-forces and especially the evangelicals and Mormons (who also oppose women’s and LGBTQ rights) are still at work. In recent years there have been anti-masturbation campaigns and political candidates who have who have falsely equated and linked masturbation with serious offenses such sex abuse, human trafficking, and child pornography . Others have warned that masturbating will prevent you from being able to love or to function sexually with your spouse or even … going to Heaven. With a view of history it is easy to see why the guilt and shame surrounding masturbation is unnecessary. Many people live under the false impression that, if they masturbate to an erotic image, they are mentally ill or addicted to pornography. It is indeed liberating for these folks to discover that masturbation is normal and that it does not poes a medical risk.
It is also important for people of faith to understand masturbating does not conflict with being a Christian. Just like with other social issues, Christianity is split. The harsh and intolerant views regarding masturbation express only the views of fundamentalist thought and not the only or even main outlook of Christianity .

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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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Valentine’s Day and Evolution of Romantic Love from Cupid 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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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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