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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

Friday, January 31, 2014

#FF Reader's Choice: #Top5 Friday's Fabulous Finds 2013 & A Contest & Sport's Psych 101 Radio

Thought for the Day: Over the last month, I have been celebrating the blog's 2nd birthday. I've posted the Reader's choices of the Top 10 posts in the various categories based on the number of page views. Today is the last of the Top Posts in #FF Friday's Fabulous Finds from 3013. Don't miss the #1 post if you did not see it before, the Stem Cell Rapper is well worth viewing! When 2014 began there were almost 80,000 page views over the course of 2 years. Today there are 85,600 page views. Thank you for reading, sharing & commenting on the blog!

I had intended to just post the Top 5 #FF Posts today, but yesterday decided to run my first Voting Contest to have you help choose the best image from this blog last year (from 20 top images). One lucky participant will win a free 1/2 hour phone consult with me and a paperback version of my best selling Kindle book, The Wake Up and Dream Challenge. Click this link to enter from now till February 12th. It is easy and will only take a couple minutes of your time.

I was also interviewed on SportsPsych101. Now you can listen to the podcast at your convenience. Ep.052 - Sports Psych 101 feat. Dr. Barbara Lavi Hear: How are sports good for children?; How parents influence their kids sports aspirations; Overbearing parents in sports; Team vs Individual sports as confidence builders for kids; How baby boomers changed physical fitness; How advertising affects our diets & how to counter those effects; How to achieve your goals in sports & life; The difference between DQ and IQ; & How Dream Positioning can help overcome roadblocks.

Here are the Top 5 #FF from 2013:

# 5 #FF Flipping Classrooms, World Mental Health Day, Childbirth & Sexuality & Bullying Prevention 10/11/13

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Photo Contest: Vote for Your Favorite Photo

Thought for the Day: I decided to run a contest as the final celebration of two years of blogging here. I really enjoy making the photos that accompany each blog post, so I decided to find out which photos you like the best. I am setting up the voting on my Facebook page. I selected some of my favorite images from 2013. Anyone who votes for their favorite image will be entered into a raffle for a free 1/2 hour consult with me and a free print copy of my book, The Wake Up and Dream Challenge. Scroll down, take a look at the images, pick your favorite and then go to my facebook, The Wake Up and Dream Challenge, (after 9:22 PM on 1/30/2014 & vote for your favorite. The contest will run for 2 weeks with the winner drawn on February 12th.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Flashback Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Pete Seeger Singer, Songwriter, Sage's Powerful Weapon

Thought for the Day: The quote on Pete Seeger's Banjo, which a friend posted on Facebook yesterday has today's words of wisdom:
This Machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.
My father knew 3 people over the years who were famous. He went to school with Ozzie Nelson, the father of teen heart throb actor and singer, Ricky Nelson. His dentist was Felicia Rashad's (From the Bill Cosby show) father. When I was a teenager, the fact that he knew Ricky Nelson's father was pretty impressive. However, his third famous acquaintance, Pete Seeger, who passed away this week whose words of wisdom are on his banjo above, tops them all.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tips: Simple Ways to Cope With Depression

Photo from MorgueFiles
Thought for the Day: Here's an answer I gave to a question on HealthTap. I tried to offer some additional ways beyond medication and psychotherapy that can help someone struggling with depression. If you have not visited HealthTap yet, I would recommend that you try it. Specialists from around the country will explain all types of medical questions 24/7. If you would like to follow me on HealthTap, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

A 33 year-old asked:
Is there a way to help my major depression?

Dr. Barbara Lavi answered:
There are some tips
Exercise is a natural antidepressant. Even when you feel like staying in bed, get up and exercise. It will improve your mood. Laughter is also a natural antidepressant. See a funny movie. Laugh out loud. Speak with a friend. Go to a mall, it may help you get your mind off your troubles. Listen to music it may also help improve your mood. Therapy is also a huge help so why not take advantage of it?

If you would like to follow me on HealthTap here's how:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Miraculous Mondays: Can Our Marriage Be Repaired After An Affair?

Thought for the Day: Even after years of working in the field, it is still hard to watch couples struggling with the impact of an affair on their marriages. The sense of betrayal, loss of trust, hurt and anger are unavoidable emotions for the person whose spouse has cheated. The guilt, remorse and self-deprecation of the transgressor also go with the territory. When they come in for therapy, after an affair they are often unsure whether their marriage can be repaired or whether they want to fix it. After I hear what has transpired and get a history of their relationship, here's what I tell them before starting in couples therapy, based on what I have learned from working with couples who have been in their shoes.

First of all, I do not know whether they will be able to repair their marriage. The goal of therapy is to help them discover whether their issues can be resolved or whether they will choose to part ways. If they have children, I always recommend taking the time to try to fix their marriage. If they cannot they will be better prepared to speak with their children about why they are splitting up and honestly say that they tried to fix things before giving up on the marriage. It may take a few months of therapy to know whether the marriage can be salvaged. I ask them to work for 3 to 6 months in therapy before they make any decision. Usually, the problems that lead to the affair have been brewing for years. It will take longer than a few months to resolve them, but, in a few months, they will know whether it is moving in the direction of reconciling their differences or not.

Although I try to give them my assessment of whether I think they will be able to work things out, I also tell them that I can never be sure. I have seen couples who seem to be compatible who are unable to save their marriages. On the other hand, I have seen couples who could barely sit in the same room, that I would have bet my license that they would not stay together, who are still married. In the worst case scenario I have ever seen, not only had there been an affair, but it had been with a minor teenage relative and a child has been sired. The husband was willing to end the affair with the now adult relative, but wanted to have a relationship with the love child. I have also seen clients whose spouse would not come for therapy, that I assumed would part, but been thanked by the nonparticipating spouse for saving their marriage.

I don't have a crystal ball, but from my years of working with couples, it appears that four things seem to be the best indicators of whether a couple can overcome the impact of an affair on a marriage.

First of all, both parties truly still love their spouse, are willing to break off the affair entirely and work on their marriage. The hurt party may question their sanity and feel angry, but still have some loving feelings for their spouse. If either of them feels that they never really loved their spouse, but got married for the wrong reasons, they may not be able to avoid divorce court. The spouse who had the affair may have mixed feelings and be confused about their feelings for the person they had the affair with, but their desire to fix the marriage is stronger than the pull of the affair. They must, ultimately, recognize that an affair is not a "real love" relationship, but a fantasy "catch as catch can" clandestine relationship often based on lust rather than real love. Although it may have felt more exciting or loving, it was not exposed to the real life challenges of children, finances, and normal family life. Often affairs start to become a burden when real life issues start to creep into the relationship, like demands for more time.

The second necessary ingredient appears to be the ability to forgive. This ability appears to be most common in couples who have strong religious backgrounds,. However, they do not have to be religious to have this personality trait. If you tend to hold grudges, you may not be able to forgive your partner's transgression.

The third, and most important variable, is the ability to share responsibility for the affair. This may seem counterintuitive. The person who has been cheated on needs to accept that they could have had an affair, too, if the problems between them had continued to fester. This is the hardest fact for the hurt partner to accept. They often say that they would never have erred, but in reality, when a marriage is not working anyone, even very religious people, can and do have affairs.

Finally, if the spouse who had the affair is not willing to be totally transparent and on probation for as long as it takes to rebuild trust, it will not work. This is always difficult since the hurt party usually needs much longer to heal than the transgressor would like.

There are many more variables that play a part in marital therapy, but these are some of the prerequisites for starting to repair a marriage after an affair.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Saturday's Songs 4 the Soul & Sunday's Comic Strips: Young Singers & New Year's Resolutions

Cartoon From twinkleofafadingstarrebloggedsammyshalo on Tumblr

Thought for the Day: Somehow the weekend has almost slipped away and I am just getting to Saturday & Sunday's posts. Over the weekend, I received a notice from HealthTap that I will be getting a national award and needed to do some work for them. On twitter,  I also discovered an amazing community, Our Mom Spot, which I joined and began exploring. We saw a fascinating movie, Her, with Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, and Amy Adams. It is a very creative and thought provoking idea. My guess is that I and other psychologists will have a lot to say about this futuristic view of relationships. I encourage you to see it and do not want to ruin it by commenting yet! Have a wonderful end of the weekend!
So today, the cartoon comes from a Tumblr post by twinkleofafadingstar which she shared fromreblogsammyshalo, also on Tumblr. How are you doing with your New Year's resolutions?
In addition, since I did not post yesterday, I'm sharing some music from a facebook page that I follow, Sun Gazing. I love to see young children expressing themselves via the arts. Here are two videos of children. One is a young boy who's voice will blow you away. The second is of a little girl who's performance is simply adorable.

Post by Sun Gazing. Young boy surprises owner of music shop when he starts to sing.

Post by Sun Gazing. Why parents should sing with their children.

Friday, January 24, 2014

#FF Friday's Fabulous Finds: Reducing Food Waste, Ballet & Autism, WaterWheel, Setting Limits & an 8 Year Old Hero

Thought for the Day: I have been posting the Best of 2013 blog posts in various categories over the last 2 weeks and have not finished all of them yet, however, this week I felt it was important to share a few #FF Fabulous Finds that I have come across lately and don't want to miss. The topics include: a great way to reduce the amount of food wasted in the USA while helping families on low budgets save money; how ballet and music are helping an autistic girl communicate; an innovative way to help free girls and women in underdeveloped countries; tips on how to set limits with your children; and the story of a young hero who died saving lives. Have a wonderful weekend!

"We’ve all heard about the massive food waste Americans incur every year. 'Sell-by', 'best-by' and 'use-by' dates are mostly unregulated and confusing for consumers when it comes to throwing items out --a factor that contributes to $165 billion of food wasted every year. But the former president of Trader Joe's Doug Rauch says he’s got a solution. "To read more click here:  Trader Joe's ex-president to open store selling expired food 1/22/14

Ballet helps autistic girl connect to the world around her by:  12/25/2013  Clara Berg’s keen interest in ballet has opened doors for her, garnering invitations to local dance productions and attention from autism experts. See a video on the article or click here.

"When Cynthia Koenig, a young social entrepreneur from New York, learned that millions of girls and women around the world spend hours each day collecting water from distant sources, she decided to create a new way to help people in poor communities transport water and it's called the WaterWheel." Read more from @AMighyGirl on Facebook Thanks to Rebecca Woodhead  on Facebook.

Here's a great article on setting limits with your children. How to Set Limits for Kids Without Harshness, Fear or Shame by Sarah  Parenting educator and coach 
Tyler Doohan from Facebook
This is a sad but touching story of a child's love and heroism. 8-year-old hero saves six from fire, dies trying to save grandfather and uncle Tyler Doohan known as great kid Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 By Rick Couri 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Part II:Reader's Choice Top 5 Special Editions 2013:Holidays, Triumphs Over Tragedies, & Resilience

Thought for the Day: Last week I shared 5 of the Top 10 Special Editions 2013: Celebrating Holidays, Triumphs Over Tragedies, & Resilience. Today I am sharing the Top 5 (actually 6 since there was a tie for 5th place) in special editions. It really gives an overview of the past year. I was thrilled to have encouraged one of my interns to write a post about her experiences on Dec 14th, 2012. I write 99% of my posts, but some of my interns wanted the opportunity to write on my blog. Claire Freeman a psychology student who was my Human Resources intern last summer wrote the post which had the most page views in this category.

Tied For #5: Special Edition: Wake Up Washington: Part II Putting Congress On The Couch 10/10/2013

#3 Memorial Monday: How Driving A Truck Helped A Bereaved Father Cope 5/27/2013

#1 Throwback Thursday: Sandy Hook Revisited: Where Were You Last December 14? 6/20/2013

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Part II: Reader's Choice Top 5 Words of Wisdom Posts 2013

Thought for the Day: As the eastern seaboard digs itself out from a foot or more of snow, I am sharing the 5 top Words of Wisdom Posts from 2013. It has been interesting to look back at all the posts and see which ones readers liked the best. I am honored that two of the top 5 were quotes that I created. It is also a pleasure to celebrate two years of blogging with you. It is amazing that since I started the Top 10 posts for 2013, page views have risen from just under 80,000 to over 84,000! Thank you for reading, liking, sharing and commenting! I decided to find a quote about birthdays for today's post. It is from an author I am not familiar with, Jarod Kintz, from his book, This Book Title Is Invisible. Kintz says, "The year you were born Marks only your entry into the world. Other years where you prove your worth, they are the ones worth celebrating." I hope that we will have many years to celebrate my blog and that it will always be worthy of you spending time reading it.


#4 The 3 Rules of Life