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Retreat Reviews: "I thought my dreaming days were over, but since leaving my teaching job, I have started a new career and my husband and I are exploring China for two years!! Dream Positioning works for both of us as we move forward together..." -Shulah S. Retreat Participant "My wife and I attended a retreat run by Dr. Lavi years ago. Things we learned still help us keep things exciting!" -Bill and JoAnn H., previous participant

Monday, December 22, 2014

#FF Wonderful Weekend Review: Music, Humor & Inspiration

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Thought for the Day: Today, I had the 2nd phase of my December miracle, which began 2 weeks ago. I'm feeling great and taking it easy today while I'm trying to catch up by posting a flipboard review planned for last Friday! The picks are lighter than usual with some inspirational music and some funny selections. Hope you enjoy them and have a wonderful holiday season!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: How to Build Resilience and Self Confidence

Thought for the Day: Here's something for parents to think about. As the cartoon I just learned how to produce says, "Resilient people see mistakes as opportunities to learn how to correct them." We used to think that telling our children how smart they were helped build self confidence and resiliency. However, they often don't believe you, since they know you love them, they think you are simply prejudiced. However, it seems that encouraging children to be problem solvers is the key to resilience. Encourage them to take pride in their mistakes and how they resolved them. It may help you build greater self confidence as well. Click here to see the video:
Mistakes 3

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December Miracles: Seeing Things From A New Perspective

Thought for the Day: December is a month filled with holidays and stories of miracles. I haven't written for a while, but have a story that I want to tell. I have been extremely busy with work and preparations for a minor medical procedure. I had not planned to share anything about the procedure, since it seemed routine. In hindsight, I realized that it may be routine, but it is also miraculous.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Are You Living on Purpose? Or Waiting for Luck? "Life has no experation date." Dr Barbara Lavi

Thought for the Day: Here is a post produced on a new app, Storehouse. I'd love to hear what you think. I will be posting more soon, life has been extra busy but I will catch up!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

#FF Weekend Review 11/23/14: Psychology, Art, Quotes & More

Thought for the Day: The weekend seems to have disappeared, but here's my weekend review from Flipboard. Enjoy!

Check out #FF Weekend Review 11/23/14 Psychology, Art GIFs & More by Barbara Bogdanow Lavi

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday's Confession: Why I Have Not Posted for a While: Results From Children and Violence Survey

Thought for the Day: This is probably the hardest post I have ever written for this blog. Although my clinical practice has been busy, that's not the reason. I have also had a number of out of office appointments that have reduced the time I have for writing, but that's not why I have not been able to complete it. I could blame my inability to complete this post on missing daylight savings time. I do feel like more than an hour has been stolen from my day, but that would not explain my procrastinating on this post either. I must confess that I have been obsessing about how to write it for some time, because I am embarrassed that my attempt to tackle an important topic in a new way, simply did not go as planned. I have been taught that psychological research needs to be reported fully, even when it does not go as planned. Hopefully, it will shed some light on the topic, despite the fact that it is less than stellar research.
      When I posted a question several weeks ago in a mini qualitative research project and it generated close to 100 responses (and counting), I was excited and pleased with the idea of involving readers of my blog in this way. Encouraged by the previous project, I decided to try a survey to start a conversation on another topic, Children and Violence. I tried to keep the survey short and anonymous. I asked only for an age range, gender and whether the respondents were from the USA or other nations, followed by six brief questions. The 1st question asked whether the respondents believed there was a rise in violence among children. They could reply yes, no or other with room to explain their opinion. On the other questions, people chose a 5 point range of responses from strongly agree to strongly disagree with 3 levels in between. There was also one open ended question at the end of the survey which asked if they had other thoughts about variables that contribute to their perception of children and violence today.

     As the responses trickled in, I began to worry. I decided to post the survey on Quora, a format I had recently discovered where people converse on a wide variety of topics. I quickly discovered that posting a survey is not allowed on Quora. Therefore, I posted the questions one at a time on Quora to see what conversations it would generate. Although people began to respond, the questions, out of context, without the option to rate their feelings about the questions, ignited some strong understandable criticism of bias. When I explained why the questions were presented this way, people understood and posted their opinions. 

     Although Our Parenting Spot  an amazing parenting forum shared the survey on their site and tweeted it, frequently, only 22 people filled out the survey. Eight more people posted comments on Quora. Although this is far from a large enough sample to produce statistically significant results, it raised some interesting clinical questions. Hopefully these questions can help begin to understand the complexity of researching this complex topic. I believe it sheds some light so that parents, educators and concerned citizens can begin to find ways to discuss and address these issues.

     Why did so few people respond to this survey? I don’t know for sure, but here are a few guesses. Perhaps it was not well executed. Some people may have felt it was biased and therefore did not respond. Although that may have played a part, I do not think that is the reason people did not respond. Another possibility is that people do not want to take the time to fill out surveys, even if it may take just a few minutes to complete. Many people may feel inundated with requests for responses on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. The earlier post which generated far more responses was based on a one or two word response to one simple question, making it easy to respond. Are we becoming conditioned to only spend a second or two by pushing a "like" button or just writing a word or two? 

     It could be that by not defining the term violence or clarifying how the results would be used, people glanced at it and did not want to fill it out. Perhaps if I had called it, Childhood and Aggression, people would have been more willing to participate. Although I did state that the results would be used to search for solutions and to open a conversation on the topic, it may not have been clear enough to get people to participate.

     Another possible explanation may be that people don’t want to think about children and violence at all. As parents and grandparents, we see our role as guardians of children. Looking into whether there is a rise in violence among children is uncomfortable for parents and educators alike. If there is a rise, have we failed in our role as protectors of children? Did people simply not want to feel the discomfort of even thinking about the topic and looked no further?

     Similarly, we may not want to see children as anything but innocent. Are we putting blinders on to how violence in the world is impacting on our children? Even though the sample was very small, the results may help answer some of these questions. I will divide the results into three parts. Today, I am sharing starting the results from the survey. In subsequent posts, next week, I will share Quora conversations and finally some thoughts and ideas that we can take away from this project. Here are the survey results...

Saturday, November 8, 2014

#FF 11/7/14 Weekend Review: Architecture, Psychology, Quotes, GIF's, Music and Comics

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Thought for the Day: Here's the weekend magazine. Click to see the cool GIF of waves and water in motion, that is on the cover. There are articles on: Architecture, Psychology, why we listen to Sad #Music, An example from #ABBA, some great #Quotes and as always an assortment of fun comics & GIFs. The survey on Children and Violence is also posted in the magazine. I hope you will take a few minutes to share your thoughts. Thanks & have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday's Psychology Trivia: T or F: Children Raised By Single Moms Are Emotionally Damaged for Life

Thought for the Day: I have extended the survey on Children and Violence for another week till midnight, EST, 11/12/14. Please take a few minutes and complete this confidential survey. Your answers will help find creative solutions and better understanding of the issues.

It's time for Thursday's Psychology Trivia. I chose to update a post from about a year ago and hope you find it interesting.
True or False: Children Raised By Single Moms Tend To Be Emotionally Handicapped For Life 
    What do you think? Are children raised by two parents healthier emotionally than children raised by single moms. Are children handicapped for life by growing up with just one parent? Do they tend to have drug and alcohol problems, lower grades and more behavioral and mental health issues than children raised in two parent homes. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday's Tribute: Simon's Fund's Phyllis Sudman, Honored as a L' Oreal Woman of Worth

Thought for the Day: I've extended the survey for one more week and added it at the end of this post. I hope you will complete it if you have not yet done so. Thanks.
     Yesterday I heard from Darren Sudman about an honor bestowed on his wife Phyllis and Simon's Fund, one of the non-profit organizations featured in my book. I decided to share his letter with you. I hope you will help the which they founded in memory of their son, Simon. They have tirelessly spent the years turning their personal tragedy into a life saver for other families by saving lives one heart at a time.

Here's Darren's email and the video that is on L' Oreal's Site:

It's not every day that I get to share incredible news. Today, L'Oreal Paris announced that Phyllis Sudman, my wife, is a Woman of Worth.  I am so proud of her.

Every year, L'Oreal Paris selects 10 women from around the country as their Women of Worth Honorees.  Over 4,300 women were considered.  Phyllis was chosen.  As a finalist, Phyllis will attend a star-studded gala in New York and receive an award.  L'Oreal Paris will promote her and the work that she has done with Simon's Fund.  Simon's Fund will receive a check for $10,000.

It's been about ten years since Simon died. Phyllis has inspired me every day since. She has managed her own heart condition (discovered after Simon's death), while creating an organization to prevent other families from losing their own child to sudden cardiac arrest. I know that she is uncomfortable by the attention, but happy that this issue is getting national attention.

You can see her story, as told by L'Oreal, here.

L'Oreal wants to make this really interesting.  They are going to donate an additional $25,000 to the honoree (for her charity) that gets the most votes between November 3 - 21.  

Can you spare a few minutes of your time over the next three weeks to help me honor Phyllis and her lifesaving work?

Would you consider any of the following
  • vote every 24 hours for Phyllis at
  • post a link to Phyllis' story on your facebook page
  • post a link to Phyllis' story on your Twitter page (use hashtag #womanofworth)
  • find friends and/or companies to do an email blast
  • use a thumbnail images for your social media profile pic (attached)
This link will take you directly to her page:

I know I am asking a lot. These voting things can be really annoying, especially when they last 19 days.  However, this is a huge honor and I want the world to know how special Phyllis is for what she has overcome, and what's she's accomplished.  

Thanks for considering my request.  Thanks for allowing me to invade your inbox on a Monday.  Thanks for supporting Simon's Fund over these past nine years.


Darren Sudman
Executive Director, Co-Founder & Simon's Dad

Recognized by TODAY ShowCNNNPRPeoplePhiladelphia Inquirer and USA Today.

Proud team member of  

      Before you leave to support Phyllis and Simon's Fund, please take a moment to complete this brief confidential survey on SurveyMonkey to address another important issue: Violence and Children. Even if you post your e-mail, it will not be connected to your specific responses. I will not share e-mails either. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. I will collect responses for another week till November 11, 2014 and begin sharing results about a week later. Thanks in advance for your help.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Survey: Is Violence On the Rise Among Children? Be Part of the Solution

Thought for the Day: I was extremely excited by all the responses to the qualitative research project that I did over the last week and a half. I decided to try SurveyMonkey to address another important issue: Violence and Children. I hope you will take a few minutes to complete this anonymous survey. Even if you post your e-mail, it will not be connected to your specific responses. I will not share any e-mails either. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. I will collect responses for the next week till November 4, 2014 and begin sharing results about a week later. Thanks in advance for your help.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

#FF Wonderful Weekend Review: #Psychology, #Education, #Banksy, #EnriqueIglecias, & #Comics

Click to view the entire magazine

Thought for the Day: Here a mix of great articles on why Exercise fights Depression, What to subject to avoid in your next job interview, How giving can lead to success. There's music from Enrique Iglecias and somc funny comics and GIF's like the cover. Hope you enjoy this weekend reading!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Thursday's Psychology Research Results Part V: Note To Younger Self: Keep Learning

Thought for the Day: Somehow I feel like I’m playing catch up lately. My clinical work has been busy and there have been several critical incidents which impact on my writing time. Perhaps by trying to do qualitative clinical research, I have slowed down my process as well. The richness of conversations with readers has been worth it to me and I will be posing additional questions soon. Here’s the last group of responses to the question: "If you could write a note to your younger self, what would you say in just two words?” (You may want to take a look at the other posts in this series to get the full picture.  Part I: Results From Advice To Your Younger Selves: What Makes Us Regret Our Youth?Part II: What Makes One Person Survive And Thrive & Another Bend & Surrender? & Part 3: Mind Games Or How Do We Learn To Trust Ourselves? Part !V: Are You A Social Learner An Action Taker Or Both?)

In my mind, I have saved the best for last. I must say that I am a bit prejudiced since this group shared my two word advice to my younger self. I did not want to share my to word choice till the end, since I wanted to hear your thoughts without influencing yours. There were only seven out of 73 respondents who saw education as key to gaining insight and wisdom in life. 

Although I have put this group into a separate category, it actually belongs in at least two of the other groups, the Mind Gamers and Action Takers as well. I called this group “Eduction As the Answer.” They like the Mind Gamers encourage their younger selves to not only trust themselves, but to keep learning. They are also action takers who focus on learning, education, the pursuit of the truth and focusing deeply as the kinds of action needed. As one person said “Education = Survival.” 

They came to this decision for various reasons. Some of the people in this group learned the hard way after making mistakes in their younger years. One of the responders said, 
"I regret every decision I have ever made in my life without prior knowledge and learning, consideration and thought. Mistakes made at the beginning of anything are difficult and sometimes impossible to recover from. Knowledge before action is my greatest life lesson.” 
Another person in this group, realized later in life that she should have studied harder when she was younge. She was struck by a disease in her thirties which impacted on her memory. She wonders now whether the disease would have done less harm if she had been more diligent as a student in her younger years. 

For me the words “keep learning” have been a mantra from when I was a young curious child who loved to read. My grandmother encouraged me to cherish every opportunity to learn. She was the youngest 85 year old woman when she passed away, I have ever known because she practiced what she preached. She never stopped learning and challenging herself. The more you learn the more prepared you will be for any of life’s challenges. Although formal education is important, I believe there are opportunities to learn from every person you meet and from any and all life experiences. Mistakes are simply opportunities to learn and correct them. 

In some ways this response is an answer to the people who are in the "Defeatist" group. If they could learn that it is never too late to learn and correct mistakes they would be able to overcome their negative attitude towards life. It can also be helpful for parents (or grandparents) to help inspire them to grow and learn throughout their lives, but it can also help each of you as you face life's challenges and regrets with new conviction and determination. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Research: Note 2 Younger Self Part !V: Are You a Social Learner an Action Taker or Both?

Thought for Today: Somehow the fall has been exceptionally busy for me. I will be spending time again on a critical incident today, so that my writing time is minimal. Therefore, I decided to write about two of the typical groups of responses to people's notes to their younger self. (If you have not read the previous segments, you may want to take a look. Part I: Results From Advice To Your Younger Selves: What Makes Us Regret Our Youth?Part II: What Makes One Person Survive And Thrive & Another Bend & Surrender? & Part 3: Mind Games Or How Do We Learn To Trust Ourselves?). These two groups, "Social Learners" and "Action Takers" raise multiple questions. If you see yourself In either of these groups, I would love to hear from you. What or who taught you these life lessons?

The 1st group are "Social Learners." They were a relatively small segment of the responders. Only 4 of the 72 responses mentioned improving social relationships as their advice to their younger selves. Their advice includedBe Kind, Love More, Love only Who Treats You Right, Be More Social. Unfortunately, these responders did not elaborate on their choices. I can only guess that they were more socially isolated or awkward and learned over time that friendships and relationships were important for their emotional well being. Perhaps they had a few broken hearts in the process.

The second much larger group, included a little under 1/3 of the responses to the question of what 2 word advice you would give to your younger self.. In the "Action Takers" group, action is the key to finding the path to health and happiness. Their advice sounds like a cheer leading squad encouraging their younger selves to take action, "Focus Deeply, Chill Out, Take Action,  Eat Healthy, Keep WritingKeep Active, Love Yourself, Be Love, Leave Home, Take Risks, Set Goals (2), Dream, Let Go, Be Brave, Be Real, Lighten Up, Pay Attention, Enjoy Today, Go On, & Think Ahead." These responders did not share what led to their 2 word conclusions. Therefore, they leave me with multiple questions. Were the people in this group always risk takers? Their advice does not connote the kind of painful learning processes that the "Survivors" or "Mind Gamers" seemed to have gone through to reach their conclusions. Did these people grow up in families that encouraged them to take risks, dream and be brave, making it easier for them to mature and accomplish things in their lives? If you are inclined to confront challenges in this way, I would love to hear more about how you became an "Action Taker."

I hope to complete this series this week, but your comments will help me develop additional topics that interest you. Thanks in advance for any comments and suggestions. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

#FF 10/19/14 Wonderful Weekend Review: #Psychology, ##Songs 4 the Soul and #Comics

Click here to view the magazine 
Thought for the Day: This weekend's review includes some interesting articles on #mentalhealth and gun control; how to have fun, a wonderful new movie, "Skeleton Twins," that deals with the difficult topic of suicide in a sensitive;  thought provoking way, #Inspirational #Music from +Carrie Underwood   and a creative, colorful video with music from +The Rolling Stones . Then there's lots of #comics and #quotes for your enjoyment on this beautiful fall weekend.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday: Note 2 Younger Self Part 3: Mind Games or How Do We Learn to Trust Ourselves?

Thought for the Day: I had a very busy day Wednesday which began by helping out at a bank following a robbery. Whenever I can, I go to companies after critical incidents, but it often turns my schedule upside down for a few days! Two full days working with clients left no room for writing and posting. Therefore, today I'm trying to catch up and share the third set of results from the mini-research project based on your 2 word notes to your younger selves. This series of posts is leading to some very interesting questions. How and when did you learn to trust yourself?

There has been a great deal of interest in the results of this research project. It has certainly provided food for thought. I called the group of responses that I want to talk about today "Mind Gamers." I must admit that I chose it thinking that the name would get your attention. Usually mind games have negative connotations. In this case, there is nothing negative about these responses. These “mind games” have an extremely positive impact on those who use this approach to reach out to their younger selves. It was therefore really important to hear about when the members of this group acquired this knowledge and what prompted to offer this advice to their younger selves. Unfortunately, only a few subjects told their stories.

When we are confronted with adversity, what we say to ourselves makes a big difference in how we handle the situation. Our thoughts impact how we perceive and cope with the challenge. Positive psychology research has shown that truly the saying ,"Mind over matter" is true. Since as I reported in an earlier post, negative thoughts lead to depression (Which Comes First Depression or Low Self Esteem?), positive thoughts are important for our mental health and well being. The “mind gamers” were by far, the largest group in this study one third of the respondents chose positive self talk as what they would say to themselves. This may have been due to the large number of therapists who responded to this survey on a LinkedIn group for psychologists and other therapists. Close to half of the therapists chose positive self comments for their two word advice. Here's the kinds of things they said to their young selves and why...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thoughtful Tuesdays: Note 2 Younger Self Part II: What Makes One Person Survive and Thrive & Another Bend & Surrender?

Thought for the Day: Yesterday, I  began sharing the results from my mini research project. I am excited to let you know that people have already written responses to some of the questions I posed. By doing so, I hope that the posts will become even richer. Thank you in advance for your thoughtful comments. Today, I want to address another type of two word notes of advice to your younger selves which reflects a group of inspirational people, I called “survivors.”  This group is in many ways the one we can all learn the most from since they have learned from and overcome painful life experiences. Even without knowing the stories behind their two word advice my heart could feel that there lives had not been easy. They learned their lessons from the school of hard knocks. They reach out to their younger selves with messages like:
      "So Sorry, Tell Someone, Set Boundaries, Grow Anyway, Waste Your Youth, Why God?, Don’t Worry, Behave Yourself. Quit Drinking, Stop Crying, Choose Happiness, You’re Not to Blame, Endure.

A few of these brave survivors shared their stories. I will cautiously tell you about their journeys without giving details that could identify them. There were thirteen people from the 72 in the study whose responses seemed to fit this category. One person explained, "because I am not where I want to be in life. I could never have imagined that my life would turn out like it has. Essentially, I feel drained, beaten, and slighted by fate. I turn to God and ask why.” They went on to say that they chose a question for their younger self which they could interpret on their own. It had taken ten years, but somehow they trusted that their younger self would find the answers. 

Another person from this group who is only in their twenties would advise their teenage self "not to worry." They had learned that worrying made it harder to cope with raising three young children. Becoming a parent may be a fast track to wisdom beyond your years. 

It was interesting to learn that many of the survivors in this study were in their teens when they broke away from a painful life experience. Literally, some “burned” their path to freedom when they stopped trying to fit into someone else’s expectations or were forced to build boundaries between themselves and someone who was abusive to them. One of these “survivors" took only 90 minutes to escape, moved away, started a business and made a “fresh start” when she had barely entered adulthood. 

For others the journey would take much longer with the issues coming back to haunt them after 40 years. Some found their strength through therapy, others through volunteer work with young adults coping with similar difficulties. For some the death of the person who abused or the loss of a loved one reopened wounds that they had considered buried and resolved.

The conclusion to “Choose Happiness" came to one of the members of this group after “spending a lot of (their) life letting clinical depression get the better of (them) and taking a long time to realize that (they) had to decide to get the better of it.” 

Only one woman (now just in her early 20’s) from all the participants in the study had different messages for herself at different ages. Her progression and development were reflected in the shift in the advice she would give to her younger selves. Although she did not say what led to her tears and fears, her first comment to her 18 - 20 year old self, "stop crying.” would place her in the survivors group.  As she matured and found more strength, her self talk would bring her into one of the other groups with words of self encouragement: “Go On” and finally to the recognition of “You’re right.” 

This young woman’s journey is similar to others in the survivor’s group. They needed to learn that they were not to blame for things that happened to them or those they loved. One participant’s touching powerful words would be applicable to many of the others in this group,  "I was reminded that.... I needed to forgive myself. Not because I thought I could have done something differently, but because I kept blaming myself for what others had done to me. This left me consumed with rage and anger and as a result, I was NOT living life to the fullest." 

Although the survivors have suffered and made mistakes, they, unlike those who surrender, seem to intuitively have gained wisdom and found resilient ways to overcome adversity. What gives these people the strength and wisdom to break away and save themselves from the tenuous situations even when they are barely adults? One of the threads that they seem to have in common is that they were forced into roles of responsibility in order to survive and stepped up to the plate. Some had to fend for themselves at a young age. Others became young parents. It could be that being forced to learn to parent yourself at a young age, even if your parents were neglectful, acts as a catalyst for growth, self awareness and wisdom. One of my readers, +Sidra Luna,  sent me a link to an article on the positive aspects of the twentysomething brain. When tragedy befalls someone at a young age, their developing brain may have some unique qualities which are advantageous and help them cope. For some of these young survivors, their youthful passion, fearlessness in the face of risk and curiosity about human nature, may help them discover solutions to their dilemmas.

I have worked with people who are survivors throughout my career and am always impressed by their strength, wisdom and bravery. My guess is that somewhere along the way there was someone, a parent, grandparent or teacher who loved them and helped them know they were worthy of having a better life. What do you think? What allows one person to survive and thrive when another bends and surrenders?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Motivational Mondays:: Part I: Results From Advice to Your Younger Selves: What Makes Us Regret Our Youth?

Thought for the Day: I am starting a new series of post. Each will include a number of questions. I hope you will share your thoughts and comments to enrich the learning that can result from posts like the one which stimulated the current series. I look forward to your thoughts and comments as I explore a new format for the blog. Thanks in advance for your help!

When I first posted the question:  If you could write a note to your younger self what would you say in only two words?  I never imagined where the results would lead me. The question fascinated me from the moment I read it. Although I had my own response, I held my tongue since I wanted to hear what the people who follow my blog would say. The responses flowed in from across social networks. There were multiple responses from groups on Google+, responses on Facebook, Quora, Tumblr and therapists from a LinkedIn group responded with insightful comments. Although I have over 10,000 twitter followers, I’m unsure why no one tweeted any 2 word advice. As the two word notes to people’s younger selves came in, I began to ask for additional information. How old were they now? When did they realize that these 2 words of advice were important to them? Why did they choose these two words? When people replied the stories behind the notes were fascinating.

To make sense of the results, I began to put the responses into 6 categories. The categories have  a great deal of overlap. At times I was simply guessing as to where the responses belonged since not all people shared their back stories. I did my best to group them together and tried to make sense of what they could teach about gaining insight and wisdom. Using these groupings, I’d like to start to describe what these words of advice mean and how they might help people at any point in their lives.

First let me say that I think the task reflects how people grapple with growing up. It also reflects what I have called the challenge of learning to become one’s own “dream parent.” We have two parents. Most do the best they can to help their children become productive members of society and live good lives, but parents are not perfect. Very few of us are lucky enough to have what I call “dream parents” in my book. However, in addition to our parents, we may have encountered some parenting figures along the way who have helped us cope with life challenges. A “dream parent” can be the combination of our parents, an aunts or uncles, neighbors, coaches or teachers who helped us along the way. These two word messages are signs of what we have learned about self parenting ourselves as adults.

Some people who responded to the questions felt that developing wisdom takes a long time. They see age and experience as necessary to acquire what it takes to offer good advice to their younger selves. I preferred to keep an open mind without preconceived notions of what allows one to gain wisdom. I wanted to find out how and at what age they learned the advice. I also wanted to see whether people developed insights to share with their younger selves or not. The findings may surprise you. Read on to hear more about what your responses have taught me and some additional questions they have raised for me...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

#FF Wonderful Weekend Review: #Psychology, #Songs 4 the Soul & Sunday #Comics

Click HERE to see the whole magazine

Thought for the Day: Today's magazine has more comics than usual. Somehow, I kept finding funny photos, GIFs and video clips, so I kept adding them. Don't miss, the amazing gif on the cover, the walk on water or water skiing that demonstrates how to make the best of a bad situation. Although the funny and inspirational quotes may distract you, interspersed among them are some great serious articles related to psychology. There's a report on why adolescents don't sleep well and a Harvard researcher's findings on "thinking dispositions." The story of the accomplishments of a man with Down's Syndrome can be an inspiration to parents of people with special needs. There is also a touching story of how the Utah Jazz Basketball team helped a young boy with cancer accomplish his dream. Finaly, for songs for the soul, I chose a new song by Neil Young, "Who's Gonna Stand Up." I love the message, but the orchestration doesn't work too well for me. What do you think? I also found a great video clip of Eric Clapton's pick of the best guitar rendition of "Hey Jude."

Have a great end of the weekend! Tomorrow I plan to begin to share the stories behind people's 2 word advice to their younger selves and what we all can learn from their words of wisdom. If you have not shared your 2 cents, I mean words yet, feel free to add them. Here's the initial assignment photo:
 Motivational Monday
Click to read more about this research assignment

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday: Making This Blog More Responsive To Your Needs:

Thought for the Day: I know that it is Friday, but I have been really busy communication with my readers. Thanks to their wonderful comments and conversations I have been having with them, this has been an inspiring week for me. There have been over a hundred responses to my post on Monday! I have tried to correspond with everyone who has written a comment. I must admit it has been a bit overwhelming, but exciting at the same time. The question, "What 2 Word Advice Would You Give To Your Younger Self?" hit a chord for many people. As I said yesterday, I want to give people time to write back and tell more of their personal stories. Then I want to take time to understand how they reached their 2 word note to themselves. After I organize and make sense of the responses, I believe I will have several posts on how we grow, develop and learn from our experiences.

I also feel Monday's post may have shifted my approach to this blog. I love having more interaction with you, my readers. I know that the blog is being read since there have been over 133,000 page views since I began writing less than 3 years ago. I also know that many people enjoy the posts, but I want to be sure it really meets your needs. I not only want it to help you learn about yourselves but also show you how psychology can help you improve your lives. In the interim, from now till next Monday, if you have more 2 word notes to yourselves that you would like to share as part of this experiment, feel free to do so. On Monday, I will try to present the first set of results.

If you have ideas or topics you would like me to address, please share them. Thanks in advance for your help and comments as I begin to redesign the structure of this blog and make it more responsive to your needs.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Be Part of a Psychology Research Project: Keep Sharing Your Words of Wisdom to Your Younger Selves

Thought for the Day: On Monday, I did an experiment and started a research project. I posted an image asking people to share their 2 word advice to their younger selves. I promised to write more about it later in the week. Since then, I have had multiple conversations with readers on all my social networks. The stories and candid sharing have been amazing. I am truly touched by what I am learning and want to think about them in a thoughtful way. Writing too quickly may take away from the process of hearing your thoughts and stories. Instead of analyzing what people have been sharing, I made a slide show of some of the words of wisdom that have come in so far from people responding to this question. I hope their thoughts will encourage you to find your own words of advice to your younger self. I hope you will keep sharing your 2 words of advice to yourselves and wait to hear how these words of wisdom can help you and others improve your lives. Thanks to everyone who has shared so far and in advance to those who will add their thoughts in the next few days.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Motivational Mondays: Something Different: What 2 Word Advice Would You Give To Your Younger Self?

Thought for the Day: On Facebook today, I saw a very interesting question (posed by Andre Donavan Henry. I decided do an experiment (I am a psychologist, so it makes sense to me!) to turn the tables around and ask you, my readers to answer the question: If you could write a note to your younger self, what would you say in only two words? If you don't mind, I may use some of the answers in a later post. I am curious to see what people write. Feel free to say how old you are and why you would give this 2 word advice to your younger self, but it is not required. I played a little with the image and hope they do not mind. Come back later in the week to see what others said and how I use your advice on this blog.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

#FF Wonderful Weekend Review: #Psychology, #Music, #Comics & More

To view the magazine click here:
Thought for the Day: I almost finished this post on Friday. However, I ran out of time and needed to leave home in time to have a meal before starting to fast for the Jewish High Holiday. Today, somehow time flew by and I am just getting time to post my Weekend Review. For a non-observant person, the high holidays impact on me strongly. It has given me a great deal of food for thought which I may share over time here on the blog.

Today's magazine includes an article on what makes the brains of altruists different from others and another article on truths that even geniuses forget. Don't miss the clever and fascinating video clip from PBS with an audio taped interview with Betty Davis on feminism. There's a touching farewell video of Derek Jeter saying goodbye to his fans. You may enjoy seeing how a photo on a #genealogy blog post helped a family learn a piece of their family's history. Take a listen to a bold musical piece by a human orchestra. Finally, enjoy some funny GIFs from the classic TV show "Friends," and other humorous comics and GIFs.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Three Ways Grudges Are Like Malignant Tumors

Thought for the Day: In light of the Days of Awe which I discussed on Tuesday, accounting for misdeeds towards others is on my mind. Today's quote came to me from years of work with individuals and couples in therapy.
"Grudges are like malignant tumors, left untreated, they will destroy any relationship."
Unlike tumors, there are no benign grudges. When people hold grudges, it always causes harm. A grudge is one way of expressing anger. We don't tend to hold grudges against strangers. We reserve the "honor" for friends and family members. What many people don't realize is that holding grudges can be harmful to your health. Here's three ways that grudges are like malignant tumors...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tips: Are Smart Phones and Computers Turning Us Into Vulcans Like Dr Spock on Star Trek

Thought for the Day: It is amazing how dependent we become on our computers. Yesterday, while anxiously awaiting to pick up my new computer with all my programs loaded into it, I felt somewhat handicapped when I tried to work on my cell phone. Although I was able to upload a photo, when I tried to post it to my blog it would only capture a video that was not related to the post. Late last night, I was thrilled to get my new computer. It is faster, lighter and far more powerful than my 7 or 8 year old Mac. I was planning to write about the days of awe between the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement, but something else which seems related arose in light of my new acquisition. It's a longer "tip" than usual, but I hope you will take the time to read it and let me know what you think about these important issues.

While talking to a colleague about the benefits of new technology, we wandered into the down sides, dangers and challenges it represents for parents, children and people of all ages. On the one hand, technology has opened new avenues of communication with people worldwide. The opportunities to communicate with people are endless. It's easy and quick to just write a text, tweet or send an email to anyone, anywhere in the universe. Skype makes it possible to talk and even see the person in real time, whether they are around the corner or on the other side of the world. There is no doubt in my mind that these communication techniques as well as the wealth of internet support groups and chat rooms can be invaluable resources.

However, there are dangers and challenges that worry me both professionally and personally, as well. Could all the technological advances be jeopardizing our ability to connect face to face and maintain real relationships? Could smart phones and computers turn us into dumber human beings with limited, robotic interpersonal skills? Are immediate gratification and shorter attention spans produced by the speed of technology actually impeding our ability to delve deeper into both concepts and relationships? Will we become like the fictional character, Dr Spock, on Star Trek who was incapable of understanding or expressing human emotions? 
Read on to see some of the questions it is raising for me...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

#FF Wonderful Weekend Review

Thought for the Day: This has been a busy weekend with travel and tha purchase of a new computer. Therefore till sometime tomorrow, I will not have my computer. They are transferring things from the old one to the new one. So I just prepared a weekend review on Flipbook. I don't have the program to make a better image. I hope google+ will do it for me. I also don't know how to edit or rearrange posts from my phone, so there is a mix of mainly Sunday's comics, some songs for the soul and a couple if articles about psychology. I don't know if I will be able to post tomorrow. Have a great end of the weekend!
     Here's the link to the magazine:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Make Time Your Best Friend Or It May Become Your Worst Enamy

Thought for the Day: On Monday, I showed how time can be the greatest motivator. It can help people change. On Tuesday, I gave you an assignment and promised to explain why it is important in today's post. If you have not read Tuesday's post or completed the brief assignment (5 - 10 minutes), I would encourage you to do it since it will be helpful to you in making time your best friend. Today's quote will give you insight into the task I gave you on Tuesday. Here's the quote, incase the movement makes it a bit hard to digest:
"To make time your best friend, dream as if you have forever and act as if you only have today. To Make time your worst enemy, act as if you have forever and dream as if you only have today."
Here's how you can use this quote and the assignment I gave you to start making time your best friend...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tip: Make Time Your Best Friend (Part I)

Thought for the Day: I started this post yesterday, but am not even sharing what I wrote. Ironically, I had too little time to complete it. Perhaps the scope was too broad for a simple psychology tip and I will use it some other time. Since the Jewish High Holidays start this evening, I saw most of my clients on Monday and Tuesday leaving too little time to write a post I would be willing to publish. Either way, it serves as a lesson about making time your best friend. Best friends are flexible and forgiving with one another. I hope you will be as well. So today, I will be posting Tuesday's Psychology Tip right now, followed by Wednesday's Words of Wisdom later today. To do this, I need your help.

I'm also going to do something slightly different today. I always try to make my posts thought provoking. Today, I want you, my readers, to do more than just think about the post. I'd like to give you an thought provoking assignment. Although it could take longer, all I ask is that you spend one to five minutes on the assignment today. You can come back to it when you have more time, but for today, take just a few minutes. It will help you turn time into your best friend.   Read on to see the assignment...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Motivational Mondays: The Greatest Motivational Tool Is Time

Thought for the Day: In preparation for each week's writing for the blog, I mull over a few ideas. My thought process this week began by focusing on the turn of the seasons. Then it moved to something a client said about four months ago which helped motivate me and many of my clients over the last few months. The client's suggestion dovetailed with something I learned about my grandmother's nephew, Herb Crane, z.l., whom I wrote about in another post after he passed away at the age of 95 last May. It also resonated with and fit well with psychological research findings about habit change. Somehow these four thoughts collided inspiring what appears to be another miniseries on time and motivation.

Back in May, one of my clients came in and told me that she had started working on getting fit. She had been working long hours and neglecting all physical activity. Not only was she uncomfortable with the extra pounds she had gained, she also wanted to improve her life style. One of my client's friends with similar concerns about her own health and fitness suggested that they could help one another stay motivated. They decided to start walking together whenever possible. The friend had heard that it would help to practice this principle: "Don't break the chain." The basic idea behind the "Don't break the chain" method is simple. Most great ideas are simple and here's why I believe this is a great motivational concept...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

#FF 9/19/14 Wonderful Weekend Review: Self Help, Earth Wind & Fire's September and Sunday's Comics

Click Here to View the Magazine

Thought for the Day: Somehow I thought things might slow down once the summer ended, but it feels like life has speeded up. Here's this week's review of Fabulous finds. It's a mix of psychology articles, a little music for your soul from Earth Wind and Fire and a lot of funny photos and GIFs (like the one on the cover). Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday's Psychology Trivia: Which Comes First? Depression or Low Self Esteem?

Thought for the Day: it's Thursday, making it time for some Psychology Trivia. All week I have been posting what I called a mini-series of articles on the importance of de-cluttering your brain of negative self talk (If you missed the earlier posts, check out: Motivational Monday:Cleaning Out The Closets In Your Mind, Tuesday's Psychology Tips: How To Stop Negative Thoughts & Improve Self Esteem, and Wednesday's Words of Wisdom:The Main Reason People Cling To Self Doubt And Negative Self Images).  I decided to complete the series with today's trivia question which is a chicken or the egg type question:
Which comes first?
      a) Depression then low self esteem, or
      b) Low self esteem then depression
Psychologists have wondered whether depression leads to low self esteem or negative view of oneself leads to depression for years. Since they are clearly correlated, it is hard to prove causality. Do you think you know the answer? Read on to see if you are right. As with all the psychology trivia questions that I share here, answer is far from trivial. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: The Main Reason People Cling to Self Doubt and Negative Self Images

Thought for the Day: As I promised, today's Words of Wisdom are part of a mini-series on cleaning out self doubts and negativity from the internal closets of your minds. On Monday, I introduced a client's dilemma and some ways to fight depression. Yesterday, I offered 4 specific tips to help stop negative thoughts and improve one's self image. Today's quote will address why it may be hard to follow the tips, even if you want to change and know the suggestions could help. Here's why it is so hard:
     "Paradoxically, the main reason people cling to self doubts and negative self images is fear of venturing outside their comfort zone."
You may be wondering, how can low self esteem be a comfort zone? I know it sounds counterintuitive but here's why...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tips: Cleaning Inner Mirrors: How To Stop Negative Thoughts & Improve Self Esteem

Thought for the Day: Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of cleaning the outdated, negative self thoughts out of closets in your mind. I relayed a story of a client named June who is tormented by self doubts. Today, I will offer some suggestions which can help fight negative self talk and doubts. 

Current psychological studies have found that your thoughts impact on how you feel.  It's not surprising that negative thoughts can bring you down while positive thoughts can be up-lifting. Unfortunately, one of the symptoms of depression is negativity. When someone suffers from depression, not only do they see catastrophe around every corner, they also are plagued by  constant questioning of their self worth. This is true for people regardless of their professional and personal accomplishments. The consequences if depression is left untreated can be deadly. The recent suicide of Robin Williams is a sad reminders of the dangers of depressive thinking. 

The most successful treatment for depression combines antidepressant medication with psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral techniques have been highly effective. If you are suffering from self doubts and recrimination like June, here are 4 things you can do. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Motivational Mondays: Cleaning Out The Closets In Your Mind

Thought for the Day: For the past couple of weeks, in anticipation of the change of seasons, I have been working on a fall clean up. A few times a year, I focus on my closets. Each time I do, I come up with better ways to keep things organized and in clear view. I try coordinating color and types of clothing, use plastic boxes, label things and think that I have found the solution to disarray in my closets. I donate the impulse "bargain" purchases that often I have not worn making them expensive mistakes. I give away clothes that don't fit anymore and put other things away for the off season. When I finish, my closets look wonderful. However, over time the clutter seems to magically reappear. I take advantage of the change of seasons and the need to switch from summer to winter apparel, to set out to conquer my closets one more time.

This morning, while thinking about what I want to write, several ideas arose, not just for Motivational Monday, but for the other weekly segments of this blog. If you like this segment, you may want to come back for the Tuesday's Psychology Tips, Wednesday's Words of Wisdom and Thursday's Psychology Trivia. It may be like a mini-series of posts addressing ways to de-clutter your internal closet and reset your mind. This too is an ongoing process which can be beneficial for our mental health.

When I think about the process that led to today's post, "Cleaning Out the Closets of Your Mind," the ideas actually began following a meeting with a client on Friday. I'll call her June (not her real name). June is a very bright accomplished woman who has been struggling with depression most of her life. On Friday, she reported that the change in seasons and some anniversaries of difficult life events that occurred in the fall contributed to a very dramatic decline in her mood.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

#FF 9/13/14 Wonderful Weekend Review: #911Memorial, #Psychology Finds, #Songs4theSoul & #Comics

Click Here to View the Magazine

Thought for the Day: I chose the GIF cover of today's magazine because it was filled with sunshine, butterflies and a feeling of hope for the future. I hope it eases the sadness which the moving photos from the 9/11 Memorial bring. It is hard to believe it has been 13 years since the attack. The magazine also includes some interesting psychology finds on "The Power of Sleep." a different photographic perspective on #Autism, and ways to improve To-Do lists. Saturday's Songs for the Soul include a powerful musical tribute by Neil Young to the 9/11 heros on Flight 93, "Let's Roll," and an article in honor of Bob Crewe, singer and songwriter for Jersey Boys ("Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man" and "Rag Doll") who died Thursday at the age of 82. In addition, some music from Ravi Shankar and some amazing dance moves. Perhaps it should become a new area of  competition at the Olympics. Finally, a few comics for your weekend enjoyment. 

Have a great weekend! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

9/11/14 Special Edition: 9/11 and Terrorism: Are We Winning Battles But Losing The War?

Thought for the Day: Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of 9/11. I had planned to write this post, but spent most of the morning watching the Memorial Services instead.  On 9/11 over the years, I have often felt the need to turn off the television and reflect privately on the events of 9/11,  but this year I felt compelled to watch  the powerful images of grief, resilience and rebuilding that the families, New York and our nation have made. I could not help thinking about the recent attacks by ISIS on innocent American journalists and Arabs who disagree with ISIS'  beliefs. President Obama's announcement of a strategy in the eradication of ISIS was also running through my mind. We all owe the people who lost their lives and their families to make every effort possible to win the complicated battle against terrorism.
    As a psychologist with expertise in trauma, resilience and conflict resolution, I also feel an obligation to examine this challenge from a psychological point of view. This post is in no way comprehensive, but I hope it will raise questions and help you come up with ideas that you will share to help find creative ways to resolve this important dilemma which threatens the civilized world.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tips: How to Find a Psychologist Who Cares About the Outcome Of Their Patients

Thought for the Day: Somehow, September has barely started and I am busier than ever. Perhaps people are saying goodbye to the summer and determined to get their lives back into order. On Tuesdays I have been sharing psychology tips. Often I look back on tips or answers I have given on Since I have been very busy, I have not answered any questions for a while and decided to pay a visit and contribute some answers. One of the questions saddened me. The 26 year old woman who asked this question may have had some bad experiences in therapy in the past. When there are only 400 characters allowed it is hard to say all that I would have liked to but here I can say a bit more. Here's the question:

A 26 year-old female asked:
How do I find a psychologist or psychiatrist that really cares about the outcome of their patients?
Here's what I answered with a bit more than 400 characters...