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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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday's Songs for the Soul: The Bee Gees Barry Gibb: Saying Words "About the Sorrow"

Thought for the Day: Last week on CBS Sunday Morning I saw an interview of Barry Gibb, the last surviving member of the Bee Gees. As I watched I decided to share the video clip with you and chose one of the Bee Gee's hit songs as Saturday's Song for the Soul. We rarely get to see how famous people deal with their grief. Musicians, however, often take solace in their music and share the pain in words and lyrics. Music and performing at times becomes their therapy. In the video clip, Barry talks about the pain of dealing with the deaths of his brother Maurice in 2003 and Robin in 2012, His younger brother, Andy, died in 1988 after battling with depression and drug addiction. Till now, he had never performed without his brothers. His wife and their son were concerned that Barry was suffering from depression and encouraged him to start performing again. On the current tour he is accompanied by his son, Stephen, his niece, Samantha (Maurice's daughter), and photos of his brothers projected on the wall behind them. It is not easy, but performing again is a therapeutic journey for the rock legend. The 1996 recording of the song I picked for today has an eerie prophetic message in light of Barry's struggle with the loss of all his younger siblings. Clearly, "No one said a word about the sorrow."

Read on to hear the song and watch the video from last week's segment on CBS Sunday Morning.

Friday, May 30, 2014

#FF Friday's Fabulous Finds: Overcoming Disabilities, New Ways To Treat Poverty, Why Women Still Can't Have It all & More

Thought for the Day: I went to town this week and have many more posts than I usually do on Fridays. I started by finding some really fun interesting photos, quotes and a hilarious video demonstrating an age gap. Somehow, as much as I liked these finds, I felt there was not enough substance to the post. Then I hit the jackpot and found 4 wonderful articles. The cover story shows how a new device can help disabled children and their families enjoy activities they could never have accomplished before. Then I found a long, but insightful article on why women still can't have it all, but with solutions and ideas that may help improve women's and men's lives. (Unfortunately although the article shows up on my phone when I view the flipboard on my computer it is missing in action, so here's a link to this wonderful article by Princeton Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter.) Innovative approaches to the medical treatment of poverty are presented in the article on How Being Poor Makes You Sick. Finally, an interesting look at racism as seen (or not seen) by millennials. After the articles, there are some great quotes, photos & a video on the lighter side. Then the magazine folds into last week's Fabulous Finds, so that if you did not get a chance to check it out, you can simply keep looking. Let me know if you like this possibility & I will simply update the magazine each week by adding new finds. Have a great weekend!
     Here's the link to the entire magazine:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Dr Barbara Lavi: If America Came to My Office, Here's the Diagnosis, Treatment Plan and Prognosis I would Give for Her Future

Thought for the Day: I had a very busy day yesterday & was unable to post. I am still giving a lot of thought to the issues I raised on Memorial Day Monday: What You Can Do If You Are Angry About the War Raging in Our Streets. If you missed my post please take a look, read, comment, share and take action. If you are tired of watching news reports of shooting rampages and loss of innocent lives in school, colleges, malls & cinemas followed by memorial services of distraught families and friends, it can give you some ideas of what to do.

Today's post is raising additional questions about the alarming rise in violence in our nation. After the fact, as we try to make sense of what has happened, the news media reports profiles of the shooters' lives and mental health histories. Books have been written to look for commonalities between the angry young men committing these horrible crimes. Since the rampages often end in the attackers committing suicide, if they are not killed by the police, much of the analysis is based on a kind of psychological autopsy and comments from teachers, family and friends about their troubles lives. In today's words of wisdom, I raise a different explanation which could lead to a different way of treating the issue and hopefully helping to prevent additional attacks.
"If America came to my office, my diagnosis would be PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). When we focus on the shooters most of whom are dead and cannot be treated, we may be missing the underlying causes and therefore, lose sight of potential preventative treatment options."
Read on to see why this hypothesis may help understand the significant rise in violence, depression, suicide and mass attacks...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Monday: What You Can Do If You Are Angry About the War Raging in Our Streets?

Thought for the Day: This Memorial Day weekend, I am angry and I need your help. Those of you following my blog know that I have been voicing my concerns and offering suggestions of ways to help prevent the senseless loss of life from gun violence in our country. In January of 2013, after the Sandy Hook Tragedy, I wrote a letter to President Obama outlining my concerns along with creative ways to implement educational and psychological programs nationwide. Sadly, the violence has continued since then. This Memorial Day weekend began with yet another attack at the University of California in Santa Barbara. I watched in horror and sadness as the details of senseless loss of life unfolded. Unfortunately, we are living with not only a war waged by terrorists against our nation, but we are also under attack from within by angry, hurt, young adults who feel marginalized and mistreated by society.

I was also saddened to learn that my grandmother's nephew,  Herb Crane, a World War II veteran, passed away at the age of 95 two days ago. He lived a full active life. He even drove to the gym daily while in hospice care. (The article was written and aired before he passed away.) I want everyone in our nation to have the opportunity to live their lives, like Herb, to the fullest without fear of violent attacks in schools, colleges, shopping malls or movie theaters. I need your help. If you are angry, like me, and want to be part of the solution, read on on to see how you can take action...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday's Comic Strips: On Passive Aggressiveness, Fun With Disney, & Happiness

Thought for the Day: I found a few comics to share today. They come from Tumbler and Google Drive's Creative Commons images. The Disney photos obviously belong to Disney. I hope you enjoy them!

Bad guys in fairy tales come from diangelove on Tumblr, Passive aggressive on google Drive Creative Commons Images, He'll let me sleep  & What is Happiness 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday's Songs for the Soul: "Dare You," Amy Purdy, Derek Hough Truly Dance With the Stars

Thought for the Day: I don't get to watch much TV, but caught the finals of ABC's Dancing With the Stars this week. I have danced all my life and enjoy catching the show when I can. Immediately, when I saw the awe inspiring performance by Amy Purdy and Derek Hough, I knew I had found this week's Song for the Soul. My book teaches people how to overcome all obstacles to reach your dreams. Amy's story is yet another example of how our mind and strong motivation can help beat the odds. I had not seen the rest of the season so I did not know Amy Purdy's backstory. At age 20, after contracting bacterial meningitis, she had both legs amputated below the knees. She was told she might never walk again. However, Amy was an avid snow boarder who was determined to return to the sport. She became a paralympic snowboarder. I have a saying, "When there is a dream there is a way."  Amy has also become an actress, co-founder of Adaptive Action Sports and spokesperson for the Challenged Athletes FoundationShe approached Dancing With the Stars with a similar determination to push herself to the limits. The song picked for her freestyle performance, "Dare You," reflects her ability to defy the odds and accomplish her dreams. If you view only one video this week, make it this one...

Friday, May 23, 2014

#FF Friday's Fabulous Finds: Dyslexia, Children's eBook App, Happiness, Travel Tips, Instagrandma, and 9/11

Click to go to this week's #FF Flipboard Magazine

Thought for the Day: This week's #FF Fabulous Finds  are another mixed bag of finds. Today's finds include new research on the causes and treatment of Dyslexia which offers hope to families helping children with the reading disorder. There is also an article about a newApp for Kids to encourage them to find and read e-books that look and feel like real books. Two articles offer suggestions of ways to improve your life and be happier. Since summer is coming, I've included a very long article to help you travel to exotic places around the world for $50 a day. The story on how Instagram is helping a an #Instagrandma who is dealing with cancer live life to the fullest is clearly inspiring. Finally with the opening of the 9/11 museum this week, I chose an article on how one daughter who lost her mother on 9/11 is using film to try to prevent tragedies like 9/11 from occurring again. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thursday's Psychology Trivia: Can People With Special Needs Serve in the Army?

Thought for the Day: It's time for Thursday's PsychologyTrivia. Here's a question related to what kinds of work and public service special needs adults are capable of carrying out. Here's the question:
Adults with special needs (mentally and physically challenged)
     a) Are not capable of serving in any army;
     b) Would not fit in in a military setting;
     c) Could not complete the rigorous physical fitness drills required for any army;
     d) Would lose self esteem or be bullied by other soldiers if they tried to serve in a military unit;
     e) All of the above; or
     f) None of the above.
What do you think? Is it possible for people with special needs to be part of a military unit?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tips: A Natural Anti-depressant, Anti-anxiety and Addiction Medication Anyone Can Try

Interesting Fact: Exercise = a natural antidepressant. Side effects = increased joy, health and weight control. Dr. Barbara Lavi on HealthTap

Thought for the Day: Tuesdays are reserved for Psychology Tips. I have been sharing 140 character tips that I have created or 400 character answers to questions I have responded to HealthTap. If you have not visited their site, I would recommend that you do.  Specialists from around the country share their knowledge 24/7. If you or someone you know suffers from depression, anxiety or an addiction, you may want to share this psychology tip.
     Today's tip relates to the convergence of physical and mental health. Most people think of exercise as an essential ingredient of physical fitness. However, many people do not realize that exercise is equally important to our mental health and psychological well being. Read on to see why...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Miraculous Therapy Mondays: Sorry May Be the Hardest Word In Any Language

Here's a repost from a year ago that is still appropriate. Do you know how to apologize? 
Thought for the Day: I have not shared a Miraculous Therapy Mondays post for a while. These are posts which reflect on marriage therapy and times that it has helped heal couples who's relationship was on the brink of divorce. Today, I am thinking about a session which happened recently. I'm not sure yet whether any miracles happened or whether the marriage is beyond salvaging; however, the session led to thoughts on how and why apologies work or fall flat. Sorry may be the hardest word to say in any language. Recently, in a post called Sex, Lies, Love and Psychology, I wrote about the importance of teaching the 4th 'R,' Relationships, in schools from kindergarten through 12the grade. Given what I often see in couples' therapy, many people have failed to learn the art of apologizing.

Without revealing anything confidential, the couple I was working with has been married for 15 years and have 4 wonderful children. They have been challenged by the wife, let's call her Arlene's physical (fibromyalgia) and emotional (depression and addictions) challenges. Each time she slips, uses drugs and behaves inappropriately, it is followed by remorse and apologies. Unfortunately, as the behaviors keep reoccurring the apologies hold less and less credibility. Here's why...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday's Comic Strips: An Impatient Cat

Thought for the Day: Today's comic photo comes to you from an author friend on Facebook, Mary Ellen Boyd, who shared the photo from the Bloomsburg Public Library's Facebook page (Bloomsburg PA). I don't know who comes up with the amazing animal photos, but really enjoy them. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Saturday's Songs for the Soul: "She Misses Him" in Memory of Tim Johnson, Hit Songwriter

Music lifting the veil between heaven and earth

Thought for the Day: When I start working on my Saturday's Songs for the Soul, I often begin by remembering a song that I have found inspirational. Often, I have heard the songs both on the radio and by the hit songwriter at a songwriting retreat either in Nashville, run by NSAI (Nashville Songwriter's Association International) or that I organized several years ago in New England & Florida. I have not been running any retreats since just before 9/11. I held a retreat in New Hampshire in August of 2000. One of the teachers was Hit Songwriter, Tim Johnson. At the time, he told the story of how he came to write the song, "She Misses Him." Today, I wanted to share this wonderful song. Sadly, I learned that Tim passed away in October of 2012 from colon cancer. Although it made it even more importance to share the song that has helped many people dealing with Alzheimer's here, it changed this post significantly. Therefore, I am sharing another video with you today of how songwriters are missing Tim and helping his wife and family.

Friday, May 16, 2014

#FF Friday's Fabulous Finds: Work Life Balance, Brain Fitness, #1 Issue Couples Argue About, the Truth about"After" Weight Loss & Peaceful Photos

Thought for the Day: Today's #FF Fabulous Finds include an article that questions why it is so hard to be a working mom in our country and what you can do about it, ways to keep your brain fit, the #1 issue couples argue about, photos that can help you relax and reduce stress, and the truth about "after" significant weight loss. I hope you will read on and enjoy this week's Flipboard magazine of fabulous finds over a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday's Psychology Trivia: Is Technology Endangering Our Children?

Thought for the Day: It's time for Thursday's Psychology Trivia. As those of you who have been reading my blog know, I believe that social media and the internet hold great possibilities for the future of mankind. Just last week, I wrote about the The Power Of #Hashtags To #Empower Us. Today's psychology trivia question raises some important issues regarding the use of social media and technology by children. Here's the question: 

Which of the following correlations about young children's overexposure to technologies (cell phones, internet, iPads, TV), has been found to be true? 
a) Executive functioning & attention deficits, increased impulsivity & tantrums
b) Cognitive delays, impaired learning, & overall delayed development
c) Increased obesity
d) Sleep deprivation
e) Mental Illness, i.e., depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis
f) Problematic behavior & aggression
g) Addiction to technology
h) A category 2B risk (possible carcinogen) due to radiation emission
i) a), b), f), & g)
j) All the above
What do you think the answer is?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Need Help? Be Careful When You Put Your Future Into Someone Else's Hands

Thought for the Day: Today is Wednesday which means it's time for Words of Wisdom. People often ask how to choose a therapist. There are multiple options available; however, they are not all equal. LCSWs, Psychologists and Psychiatrists are bound to legal, ethical and legal standards that coaches, fortune tellers, and unlicensed therapists are not. As the image above states, you could put a message in a bottle and send out an SOS. Then you would simply take the advice of whomever picked up the bottle at the beach. You could go to a fortune teller or tarot card reader and hear what they see in your future. They might make some accurate educated guesses based on what you look like and how you respond to their comments. You could hire a coach who could cheer you on, tell you what to do based on their life experiences which might be similar to your own. It might help or it might not. Or you could contact a trained professional therapist. Here's what I think...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tips: Is Love Better Than Valium for Anxiety/Neurosis?

Thought for the Day: It's time for Tuesday's psychology Tips. Today I'm sharing a Tip that I created  with a little more information than the 100 characters allowed on HealthTap. Is love bettern than Valium for Anxiety or Neurosis? Read on to hear what love can do for personality development and see how the tip appeared on HealthTap:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Motivational Mondays: How Can Single Moms Overcome The Mother's Day's Blues

Thought for the Day: All day I have been having problems with internet connectivity. It is very frustrating, but while I am connected I will write a brief motivational piece. As some of you know I have been answering questions on a new Single Mom's website, Single Mom's Playbook. As I prepared my posts for Mother's Day it came to my attention how difficult Mother's Day can be for single moms.

So much of what makes Mother's Day work is dependent on having a supportive husband who helps the children celebrate their mothers. When there is no father in the picture or even worse when there is an ex-husband who is unsupportive, Mother's Day can become a reminder of how unappreciated you may be. This may lead to the Mother's Day Blues. One of my clients who had a contentious divorce and is battling with her ex-husband was not even sure if she would be with her kids on Sunday despite the divorce agreement. In addition, when finances are tight, there may not be any leftover money to celebrate. Should single mothers just ignore the holiday? How can they help their kids learn the importance of appreciating all they do for their children? What do you think? Have you felt left out and unappreciated because there is no father to teach your kids? Is it important?

I think it is a subject that is often neglected, but needs to be addressed given the fact that over 50% of marriages end in divorce.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday's Comic Strips: A Mother's Day Request in Honor of My Mother and Grandmother

"I Childproofed my house but they still get in."

Thought for the Day: Sundays are usually dedicated to comics, so I shared one above which I found at Mel's Commonwealth Cafe in Wayland MA. It is a great cafe with some amazing memorabilia. Sometimes, all mothers might like to childproof their houses and keep their kids out for a while. However, they also have moments when their children let them know they are actually listening and learning the life lessons they hope to teach them. My grandson gave me one of those moments a few days ago & I'd like to share it with you here on Mother's Day. Since I happened to have the precious moment on my phone's answering machine, I created a 30 second video dedicated to my mother and grandmother who are not here to celebrate Mother's Day. I know I am prejudiced, but he left a very mature request for an 11 year old that I hope you will appreciate.

I wish my mother and grandmother could hear Bradley's request. They would be so so proud if they could hear how he and all their great and great-great grandchildren are doing. Listen in...
     After I donated, I received a thank you note from Bradley, so he is learning to thank those who help him as well. Below I'm sharing the link to the Relay for Life sponsored by The American Cancer Society that Bradley is participating in. If you want to donate, I'm sure he would appreciate it. It seems like a good thing to do on Mother's Day!  
      Thanks to my daughters, they are continuing the legacy which my mother and grandmother gave to me to care for others and help make the world a better place. I am very proud of Bradley's mom, a single mom who has recently completed her Masters Degree and is a Special Education Teacher. She is teaching her children to help others, even when finances are tight. Happy Mothers Day to you as well!
Here's the link:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday's Songs for the Soul: Celine Dion and Charice: Because You Loved Me

Thought for the Day:  Psychologically, mothers (or mothering surrogates who can be fathers, grandmothers or other caretakers for infants) are the most important figures for us all, since their care, love and perceptions of their children give them their initial sense of self worth. Tomorrow is Mother's Day. It is a bittersweet day for me, since both my mother and grandmother are no longer living. 

I was lucky that my mother moved to Boston about seven years before she passed away. I was able to spend time with her more frequently during those years. I found myself simply dropping by her apartment for no reason at all. It became a tradition to come by on my birthday, just to let her know how much I appreciated the gift of life and the love she had given me throughout my life. We would go out and celebrate on Mother's Day, but just spending time with her on my birthday felt more like Mother's Day to me. I wrote a Mother's Day series of posts in 2012 about all the women who have mothered me and helped me become the person I am today (Mother's Day Part I: How The World Would Change If My Mother Ruled The WorldPart II: If My Grandmother Ruled The World, Part III: If My Mother, Grandmother & I Ruled The WorldPart IV: If My Step-Mother Ruled The WorldPart V: If My Daughters Ruled The World).

Today, therefore, I wanted to find a special song that celebrates mothers. At first, when I found "Because You Loved Me," I wasn't sure it was the right, since it is such a well known hit. When I found a rendition of the song in a duet by Celine Dion and a young singer, Charice, I knew I had found today's my song for the soul.

Friday, May 9, 2014

#FF Friday's Fabulous Finds: Mother's Day Gifts, Newborn Photos, Adorable 5 Year Old on Ellen, and Animated Movie Posters

Thought for the Day: It's Friday and time for some #FF Fabulous Finds. Since Sunday is #MothersDay I chose an article with some suggestions for Mother's Day gifts. a clip from the Ellen Show of an adorable 5 year old Kai Langer covering Katy Perry's "Roar," and 29 creative photos of newborn infants. Then I found some animated movie posters that are a lot of fun....

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thursday's Psychology Trivia: In 20 Years, What % of Americans Will Be Overweight or Obese?

Thought for the Day: Today's Trivia Question is related to physical health, however, the answer has a huge impact on the mental health of our nation's citizens. Here's the question:
In 20 years, what percent of Americans will be overweight or obese?
     a) 35.7%
     b) 50.5%
     c) 63.1%
     d) 75.6%
     e) Over 95%
What do you think the answer is? Take a guess and read on to see.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom: Dr. Barbara Lavi The Power of #Hashtags to #Empower Us

"Hashtags when used wisely have the power to empower the powerless and change the world." Dr. Barbara Lavi

Thought for the Day: We are living in very troubling, yet exciting times. If someone woke up from being in a coma for a year or two, they would be shocked to learn that a simple sign on a keyboard like a hashtag (#) could be changing our world. Hastags played a major role in the Arab Spring revolutions. In the last few days, we had yet another example of the power of hashtags to make a difference. Ramaa Mosley, an LA director and mother of two created the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls after hearing about the kidnapping of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. The tweet went viral and it has led to worldwide pressure to free the girls from their captors. As a psychologist, I spend my days helping empower people by better understanding themselves and those with whom they live and work. My words of wisdom for today are: "Hashtags when used wisely have the power to empower the powerless and change the world."

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tuesday's Psychology Tip: Retrain Your Brain To Be More Positive

Thought for the Day: On Tuesday's I post Psychology Tips. Often, I start by sharing a 100 character Tip I have shared on HealthTap. Today I wrote a new one and will elaborate a bit on it here. The tip is on how to retrain your brain to be more positive. Current research indicates that retraining your brain can impact on both your emotional and physical health, as well as increase the length of your life. Here's the tip and then some...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Motivational Mondays: Tabitha's Wish and A Video Everyone Should See

Thought for the Day: I have two motivational pieces for today. One is an example of how social media can do good and the other on how important it is to "Look Up" from your phone and computers. The 1st story cam to me via a message from a facebook fan. Duncan K McLindon had left me a note some time ago. His message went unnoticed  since he had posted it on a Facebook page for my psychology practice, ACT Now Psychotherapy.  An intern created the page, but until about a week ago I had not posted anything there. I post regularly on a facebook fan page for  my book, but simply never made time for the other page. Last week, I posted how a 3 year old can teach us about philanthropy. When I read Duncan's message, I was moved and wrote back that I would share his 12 year old daughter Tabitha's story today.  It is yet another story of what children can teach us.
     My plan was just to share Duncan's story, but today I saw another post of a video which we all need to see and share with everyone we know. It has been viewed on YouTube by over 13 million people, so it is clearly a powerful video. I hope you will read on, see both sides of the equation and share it with people you know and care about. On the one hand, social media can enhance our lives. However, on the other hand, too much of a good thing can detract from our lives.  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday's Comic Strips: A Funny Clown & A Dog Photographer

Photo from GaborFromHungary on

Thought for the Day: I love Google+. It has exposed me to some wonderful communities including many amazing photographers. I had fun putting two photos together to bring you the clown in the photo above. The second "comic" strip photo for today comes from a new Google + friend +Assad Bangash. Read on to see his great photo that could give us a dog's view of the world...

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Saturday's Songs for the Soul: Vivaldi's Winter & Let It Go for a 6 Year with a Old Heart Transplant

Thought for the Day: Last week +Annie Elizabeth commented on the Saturday's post of Gone, Gone Gone by Phillip Phillips and suggested that Vivaldi's Winter was a piece that inspired her. This morning before I went searching for recordings for today's music selection, I read an update on Katy Murphy the now 6 year old heart transplant recipient who came home Feb 25, 2013. There have been ups and downs since then, but Katy and her family are resilient and hopefully this is just a temporary setback. I chose 2 versions of the Vivaldi's Winter with Katy in mind. Hopefully, her parents will share them with her in the hospital. Here's Aimee, Katy's mom's update and the music. As you listen I hope you will think of and send positive energy to the young Katy "rockstar" Murphy.

Friday, May 2, 2014

#FF Friday's Fabulous Finds: Designing a Good Life, Photos, Homelessness, & Tornadoes

Thought for the Day: Today #FF could stand for Frustrating Friday instead of Friday's Fabulous Finds. I have been finding Flipboard to be a great way to share great finds for the last few weeks.This week, I have been having trouble. I designed a magazine on my computer, but when I load it on my computer only part of the articles load, just the first page. So I used my phone, which is how I designed them in the past. However, the same problem arose with the second magazine. On my phone app the whole thing is displayed. Please let me know if you are able to open all the pages. There are pictures taken of tornadoes devastation, a great article on Uncertainty and designing a good life, some photo highlights and an article on Homelessness in "Happiest Place on Earth."