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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, March 31, 2014

Monday's Miraculous Therapy Moments: Can Hide & Seek Rebuild Positive Relationships Between Parents & Children in Therapy?

Thought for the Day: Exactly a year ago, I wrote a Motivational Monday post called: Motivational Mondays: How To Parent When A Child Makes You Feel Incompetent.  In it I relayed the story of how I helped a mother overcome her feelings of helplessness and incompetence with her daughter, Daniella. I had shared the story with clients of mine to help them with similar frustrations with their child. About a week later, I shared an update about that story's impact on my current client's family. At the end of that week's session, the father asked to meet with me individually. He told me that he had been losing his temper with his daughter & with his wife. He knew it was inappropriate & making things worse at home. He wanted to learn how to control his behavior. Much has transpired since last year and I'd like to share how family therapy and a therapeutic version of "Hide and Seek" is helping not only to rebuild a more positive relationship between a child and her parents, but also to enhance the child's self esteem.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday's Comic Strips: Parenting Demands Creative Solutions

Photo from
Thought for the Day: Today's Comic Strips focus on the importance of creative parenting solutions. Don't try either of these solutions at home, unless you are a photoshop or videography whizz, however, as a psychologist, I believe keeping a sense of humor while parenting should be a prerequisite for Parenting 101.
     Above is a photo that reminds me of an experience I had many years ago while living in Israel. American friend's were visiting and asked that we watch their two young daughters. As a new immigrant, I was fortunate to have a been able to purchase a washing machine without 300% taxation on the appliance (at the time not many people owned machines) in my 5th floor walk up apartment, but did not have the luxury of owning a clothes dryer. I was on the back porch when:
Sarit: "What are you doing?" 
Me: "Hanging clothes." 
Sarit: "Why are you doing that?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday's Songs for the Soul: 13 Year Old LeAnn Rimes and 9-years-old "EmiSunshine" Sing the Blues

*Photo Credit: 'I Giovani e la Musica'
Thought for the Day:  Many years ago on my first trip to Nashville I heard a young child in an afternoon show at a club. I believe the child I heard was a young LeAnn Rimes before she became a star. 

I heard the second clip of 9 year old, Emi Sunshine, on Facebook. I always find it inspiring to discover talented young children. Enjoy the music!

Friday, March 28, 2014

#FF Friday's Fabulous Finds: Education, Employment, Parenting, Autism & a Miraculous Rescue from Washington Mudslide

Found on
Thought for the Day: Here are my fabulous finds for the week. For teachers and therapists there is a game that helps children learn how to express their feelings. For the unemployed, there's some advice from James Caan on how to explain gaps on your resume. From a travel editor celebrating her first child's first birthday a wish list of things she hopes for her child to become and have in his life. Whenever new research offers a glimmer of hope to help explain the complex disorder of autism or other psychological disorders, I try to share them, the forth find is one such study. Finally, I saved the best for last with some incredible footage of the rescue of a 4 year old child from the devastating mudslide in Washington state this week. How the rescuers saw the boy is miraculous. Sadly, his father and two siblings have not been found. He was however reunited with his mother who was at work when the mudslide occurred. In the midst of tragedy, sometimes miracles happen. Have a great weekend. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Rebound Relationships and Brokenhearted Blindness

Thought for the Day: Yesterday while driving in my car, I overheard 4 words from a song that stuck in my mind: "Broken Hearts Are Blind." Since I write songs when I hear a phrase like that I wish I had thought of it! I don't know who was singing an did not hear the rest of the lyric, but this morning I came up with a quote that I think may help people understand why it is important to take time between relationships. Here's my words of wisdom:
"Caution: Rebound relationships tend to fail because they are founded by people suffering from brokenhearted blindness." Dr. Barbara Lavi
Over the years as a clinical psychologist, I have seen hundreds of couples in marital therapy who report that they began their relationship just months after a failed long term relationship. This bit of history is like a red flag for me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tips: Do You Take Your Anxiety Out On Your Stomach, Head or Neck?

Thought for the Day: Today, I chose a question that I answered on HealthTap from someone wondering whether their depression and anxiety could be "residing" in their stomach. I could have inserted multiple other questions about almost every body part you could think of from head, back, heart to chest. The answer would be the same simply inserting different body parts. Although the psychosomatic or influence of our emotional health on our physical health has been proven in multiple studies, it is always necessary to have a physician check to be sure that there is nothing medically wrong with the body part before assuming that it is purely a psychological issue. However, psychotherapy can help. Even if there is a medical problem for which you are being treated, like migraine headaches, reducing the emotional issues may help by reducing the stress you put on that part of your body. Here's my answer with a bit more elaboration than allowed on HealthTap:

Dr. Barbara Lavi answered:
Different people
take out their anxiety on different parts of their bodies. Common figures of speech reflect this tendency, I.e., "it's a pains in the neck," "I need this like a hole in the head," "It gives me heartache." In your case, "It makes my stomach turn."

Monday, March 24, 2014

Motivational Monday: Malaysian Flight 370: Anticipatory Grief and Why Finding Evidence is Important

Photo from +Mathemania on Google+
Update: This afternoon the fate of the plane's path was confirmed as in a remote part of the Souther Indian Ocean. They therefore are certain that it was impossible for the flight to have landed safely. There have been additional sightings of possible debris, but none have been retrieved. This will be the beginning of the grieving process for the families. Hearts and prayers go out from around the world.

Thought for the Day: While I was thinking about today's post I was invited to join a new group on google+ called +Critical Shadows and saw the amazing photo that I posted above. It also explained that each dot is circling around the circle. Somehow it seemed fitting for today's Motivational Monday's post. 

The entire world seems to be going around in circles trying to find the remnants of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Last week, I was not thinking about this tragedy when I wrote Wednesday's Words Of Wisdom: Beyond Acceptance: The Secret Of Resilience However, my thoughts about the stages of mourning are applicable here as well. The families of the passengers of the flight are stuck in the excruciating limbo of not knowing what happened to their loved ones. The world is searching along with them for any trace to help explain what happened.  

Why are we all circling and mesmerized by the news which seems to be moving so slowly.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday's Comic Strips: Danger Work Ahead

Thought for the Day: Since Sunday is meant to be a day of rest, I chose two comics that poke fun at work. I hope this does not remind you too much of the frustrations of work or diminish your relaxation. Take it easy & enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday's Songs for the Soul: Hunter Hayes on Bullying and Being Different

Thought for the Day: On my drive to Boston, I listened to country radio. The radio in my car does not pick up any country stations in Connecticut until I reach Hartford.  Therefore, I had not heard this song until last week. It caught my attention for Saturday's Songs for the Soul since it captures the psychological pain and angst of feeling (or at times wanting to feel) invisible during adolescence. In addition, it gives hope to anyone who is feeling different or is bullied that someday life will improve and they will be proud of their uniqueness.

Friday, March 21, 2014

#FF Friday's Fabulous Finds: Wheel of Fortune, 7 Ways to Improve Memory, Happiness, and Link Between Antidepressants & Autism

Photo from CBS News (WTVR)

Thought for the Day: It's Friday and time for some #FF Fabulous Finds. There are some interesting finds including one offering ways to improve your memory, another on making happiness a priority in your life, some suggestions to help parents who are separated take the hight road and avoid modeling inappropriate behavior for their children , and some unsettling findings that seem to be under-reported about the connection between anti-depressant medication during pregnancy and the rise in autism.The photo above is actually the 1st fabulous find. Can you guess what the solution to this bonus prise puzzle is from Wheel of Fortune? It's hard to believe, but the contestant did.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday's Psychology Trivia: T or F Posting Calories On Fast Food Menus Leads to Healthier Food Choices

Thought for the Day: With all the concern in our nation about obesity, common sense and good intentions led to laws requiring posting the calorie counts for meals at fast food restaurants. Has the policy helped? What do you think?
True or False: Posting Calories on Fast Food Menus Leads to Healthier Food Choices 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Beyond Acceptance: The Secret of Resilience

Thought for the Day: This week my thoughts have been focused on loss and resilience. When I am called to help out following a critical incident, the death or traumatic event triggers memories of other losses in all those touched by the event. When I speak with the human resource representatives and the staff at the company, I tell them to expect the incident to trigger memories of prior losses in all their staff, regardless of how close they were to the co-worker who has dies or been injured. Any unfinished grieving will enter their employees minds, making it hard to stay focused at work. I encourage people to come in and speak with me whether they think their issues are related to the event or not.

Often someone will come in to speak with me who is dealing with what is called complicated grief. Complicated grief happens when someone lost a love one over a year and a half prior to the current event, who is still deep in the throes of mourning. Usually, within a year or so after a loss, people have worked through the universal stages of grief, namely, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance proposed by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Surely, they are still sad that their loved one is no longer living, but they have moved on and have accepted the loss. With complicated grief, they feel depressed, may be crying sometimes for no reason or feeling that life is not worth living, even though there are many things they feel they should be happy about in their lives. They simply are unable to enjoy their lives. They seem to become stuck processing and reliving the pain and stuck in a grieving state.

As I reflected on this phenomenon, it led to the quote I am sharing today. I believe I may have discovered another stage of recovery from grief.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Motivational Mondays: New England Weather and Resiliency

Thought for the Day: I know it is not Monday, but I wanted to post this and will catch up tomorrow. You see, I was in Boston from late Saturday night till late last night for a critical incident. I wrote this post, but was unable to publish it, since I did not have internet access while I was working. I travel to help corporations when tragedy strikes. Sometimes it is for a death or serious illness of an employee. Other times it's is to work with banks following robberies. Just over a year ago, I was called to help two companies following the Boston Marathon bombings. I lived in Boston for many years and have family here, so a part of me resides in this great city. While I worked this weekend, following another tragic event, I could not help but reflect on how things have changed since last year.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday's Comic Strips: A Cat's Review of To Kill a Mockingbird & a 4 Year Old's Hysterical 911 Call

Thought for the Day: Here are two funny posts that I found in my facebook feed last week. The video is really quite humorous. It's a 911 call from a 4 year old. The operator handled it really well. Have a great Sunday.

Friday, March 14, 2014

#FF Friday's Fabulous Finds: Communication & the Generational Abyss, 7 Habits of Emotional Healthy People, Building Boys Self Esteem, & An App for PTSD

Parenting Between 11 and 14
Photo from
Thought for the Day: The week has flown by with spring flirting with us for a couple of days and then the winter deep freeze returned to taunt us. It seems that spring is on it's way. Although the snow is still not quite melted, I can see some grass which is a good sign! I hope you are all faring well as we anxiously await warmer weather. Today's Fabulous Finds range from the cute comic above which could have been an illustration for the article on digital devices and generational abyss, to seven habits of emotionally healthy people, to building boys self esteem, and a free mobile app which is helping people with PTSD around the world. I hope you enjoy them and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thursday's Psychology Trivia: T or F Some People Remember Things Better When They Are Set To Music

Thought for the Day: Those of you following my blog know that music is important to me and I believe it can play a therapeutic role in our lives. This has led me to create Saturday's Songs for the Soul (5 of the Top 10 Songs 4 the Soul 2013 & Top 4 Songs for the Soul 2013) Today's Psychology trivia question is related to music and another important cognitive skill, memory.

Here's the Question:
True or False: Some people remember things better when they are set to music.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday's Mental Health Tips: Overcoming Addictions

Thought for the Day: On Tuesday's, I have been sharing some of the questions and answers I have given on HealthTap on various Mental Health issues. This week, I chose one about drug addiction. I have given a more detailed response than I can provide on HealthTap, but you can see the original post and follow my other answers on my HealthTap virtual practice by clicking on my name below.
Today's question was:

Who should I see for my anxiety from extreme drug cravings? Addiction counselor? Therapist? Drug detox? CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)? I can't get rid my substance abuse mindset.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday's Comic Strips:The Antithesis of a Superhero: Anxiety Girl

This week's Sunday Comic Strips Choice
Thought for the Day: Often comics about emotional disorders are not very funny. Instead they are thought provoking. Since humor helps us overcome emotional problems, I try to share some of the psychological comics that I find as I surf the internet. Today's comic from Natilie Dee makes both a thought provoking and a funny statement. If you tend to be overly self conscious and anxious like Anxiety Girl, remembering this superhero may help you fight the anxiety. Remember, you may be the only one who notices that your tights are too tight or whatever you think may not be seen as "perfect" or acceptable to others. Most people are not focusing on you. Try not to jump to the worst conclusion! Have a great weekend!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Saturday's Songs for the Soul: Enra, " pleiades " Japanese Dance Troupe With Hypnotizing Light Show

Thought for the Day: This week on Facebook, one of my therapist Facebook friends, Mark Hundley, shared this amazing video of a Japanese Dance troupe that uses light in a hypnotizing way. I decided that I had to share it here today. I hope you enjoy it and share it with friends. It is one of the most fascinating choreographies I have ever seen! Have a great weekend!

Performamce & Choreography :Saya Watatani , Maki Yokoyama
Director : Nobuyuki Hanabusa
Animator : Seiya Ishii , Nobuyuki Hanabusa
Music : Nobuyuki Hanabusa

Friday, March 7, 2014

#FF Friday's Fabulous Finds: Parenting, Lupita Nyong'o, Brain Research, Music & Online Safety Tips

I've decided to add a bit of humor to the #FF Fabulous Finds each week. Here's one for all parents

Thought for the Day: Here are my #FF Fabulous Finds for this week. They vary from one of the most inspiring acceptance speeches at the Oscars, to new forms of treatment for mental illness which may soon replace the reliance on medication, to a wonderful new invention which can help prevent date rape, new research on music, and a new site that helps parents learn about ways to protect their children online. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thursday's Psychology Trivia: T or F Life Coaching Is Equal or Better Than Psychotherapy

Thought for the Day: When I prepare Thursday's Psychology Trivia posts, I find a topic and look for research that supports the answer. I have been thinking about today's post for some time, but had trouble doing the research. Here's the question and I will explain why I went ahead and posted it:
True or False: Life Coaching Is Equal or Better Than Psychotherapy

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Is Facebook Becoming an Anti-Social Cash Cow?

Thought for the Day: Today's Words of Wisdom are my thoughts related to Facebook and social networking. What made Facebook an exciting "social" phenomenon for me as a psychologist was that it was an easy, grassroots way to communicate with friends, family and fans. I believe in using social media for social good and facebook is making it increasingly difficult to do so. Lately however, I have been questioning whether it is worth posting anything on my facebook page. If anything, my posts have become more sophisticated with better graphics and content over the years. However, although I have over 1200 fans, unless I pay to boost posts, only 4 - 12 fans see them at all. 

The change happened gradually over the last few months. In the past, 80 -150 fans would see an average post depending on the content, day of the week and the time of day it was posted. Lately, only 4 or 12 fans actually see a post. It is clear that Facebook is trying to get fan page owners to pay for exposure. When I run an event or am speaking on the radio, I am happy to pay to boost a post, however, it feels unfortunate that people who have chosen to follow my page do not even see my regular daily updates which I work hard to make informative and helpful. Frankly, it is becoming an "anti-social" social networking site!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday"s Psychology Tips: Positive Parenting When Depression Runs in the Family

Thought for the Day: On Tuesdays I have been sharing Psychology Tips that I have written in response to questions on HealthTap.  Recently, I received a National Grand Champion Special Recognition Award for helping 1, 800,380 people during 2013. It is a wonderful resource that is available 24/7 for all your medical and mental health questions. Today, I'd like to share not only my answer to an important question but some of the answers of my colleagues on HealthTap. Since each response is limited to 400 characters, reading a few doctors responses rounds out the picture and offers an even more comprehensive answer. You can follow me and other physicians on HealthTap by clicking on our names below. It is always challenging when we know that a serious illness runs in our family that has a strong hereditary factor. Here's how I and three colleagues responded to this mother's difficult question. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Motivational Mondays: Adoption: If You Can't Say Something Nice Keep Your Thoughts To Yourself

From Facebook

Thought for the Day: I'm not sure if today's post is motivational or simply educational, but yesterday I saw a series of photos on Huffington Post which really upset me. As a psychologist over the years I have worked with children, adults and parents struggling with the issues related to adoption. It is one of the most complex issues that takes parents and children a lifetime to resolve. At each milestone in an adoptee's life they struggle to understand why they were given up for adoption. It leads to questions of self doubt, feelings of abandonment, and concerns that they may be unloveable even when they are raised in wholesome loving families. As small children, they may not understand the meaning of adoption, even when they are told that they were special and that their adoptive parents chose them, they have questions as to why their biological parents would give them to their adoptive parents.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday's Comic Strips: Tigger's Seasonal Affective Disorder

Thought for the Day: As I brace myself for what I hope will be the last snow storm of the season, I found this cartoon on It seems that even Tigger loses his bounce during the winter and may need some medication for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Have a great Sunday and enjoy the Oscars tonight!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saturday's Songs for the Soul: Smile/What A Wonderful World by Ima & Figure Skater, Mao Asada

Thought for the Day: As the northeast of the United states braces itself for yet another winter storm, today's two classic songs, "Smile" and "What a Wonderful World," offer a ray of sunshine as does the message from a great Olympic skater who performed an amazing long program with no possible medal in sight.

Last week while watching the closing ceremony for the ice skating competitions of the Sochi Olympics, there were some amazing performances. It was a pleasure to watch the skaters relieved of the pressures of competition enjoying themselves on the ice. Many of the performances were superior and could have placed some of the athletes higher on their final standings. I chose a clip of Japan's Mao Asada. The back story is that Asada came in a shocking sixteenth place in the ladies short program at the Olympic Games in Sochi. Although Asada who had been a medal favorite coming into the Sochi Olympics since she had been the silver medalist at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, had no chance of a medal, she excelled in the long program. Skating twelfth of the 24 competitors in the event she performed a breathtaking flawless free skate to Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No. 2." She landed all of her jumps including the triple axel on which she fell in her short program. At the end of the free skate, Asada who plans to retire after this Olympics, broke down in tears of joy.