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“Don’t worry that children never listen to you.  Worry that they are always watching you.”  Robert Fulghum

The Power of Imagination, it’s not just Imaginary

In an experiment that is as hard to believe as it is simple, Drs. Guang Yue and Kelly Cole showed that imagining one is using one’s muscles actually strengthens them.  The study looked at two groups, one that did physical exercise and one that imagined doing exercise.  Both groups exercised a finger muscle, Monday through Friday, for four weeks.  The physical group did trials of fifteen maximal contractions, with a twenty-second rest between each.  The mental group merely imagined doing fifteen maximal contractions, with a twenty-second rest between each, while also imagining a voice shouting at them, “Harder!, Harder!, Harder!”

At the end of the study the subjects who had done physical exercise increased their muscular strength by 30 percent, as one might expect.  Those who only imagined doing the exercise, for the same period, increased their muscle strength by 22 percent.  The explanation lies in the motor neurons of the brain that “program” movements.  During these imaginary contractions, the neurons responsible for stringing together sequences of instructions for movements are activated and strengthened, resulting in increased strength when the muscles are contracted.”  From, “The Brain that Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge, M.D. p.204

“Anxious Children, Anxious Parents” by Reid Wilson and Lynn Lyons

Here is a great book for parents and for that matter anyone dealing with anxiety.  It is written for parents but the principles of dealing with it apply to anyone whose anxiety is getting in the way of fully living.  There is a free ebook especially for teens that comes with it.

ADHD and Sleep

Recent article in NY Times. Click here to read article.

Therapy as a Collaborative Effort

People come to therapy primarily because they have a personal or emotional problem that they have tried to fix but find themselves stuck. It isn’t always easy to come to someone you have never met or only heard about and share your personal life. When someone comes to me I respect the fact that they are taking a risk, using their time and money to fix something that they want help with.

As a therapist I am very practical and I strive to help in a way that effects change quickly and profoundly.  I give direct feedback. I want the people I am working with to know what I am thinking because I believe it can move the process along. I am not a therapist that sits and nods and says “uh-huh” a lot. I like working with people and helping them make changes and grow as individuals.  And I like to use what people already do well to help them develop new ways of being.  In therapy jargon it is called “utilization”.

While I believe being able to identify dysfunction and pathology is important, I find that individuals interrupt old patterns and change more deeply when personal strengths are identified and used to help people feel better, think more clearly, and develop problem solving skills.

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