Welcome to my website. I hope you will enjoy exploring. The site is designed to serve two main purposes. First, it will provide basic information about my professional background and practice. Second, it will offer content and links that I believe will be helpful to my current clients and others seeking information about treatment-related topics. Some aspects of this site are static and provide basic information, while others will operate as a blog, with content updated periodically, when I find new resources to share.

If you are interested in making an appointment, speaking to me directly, or contacting me by email, you will find a variety of ways to reach me on the Contact page.

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Love in the Time of Asperger’s

Tonight I heard a wonderful episode of This American Life on NPR, one segment of which is about a couple’s success in coping with their marital difficulties once they discovered that the husband has Asperger’s. You can link to the episode here. The segment I’m talking about is the second act, called “wife lessons.” The husband has written a book, which you can find here.  The quiz which is discussed in the episode, which is not a diagnostic tool, but could be a way to think about whether to go see someone who could use real diagnostic tools to make a diagnosis and help those you love is here.

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Books I Recommend to Clients — Part 2

While I’m plugging Martin Seligman’s work, I should really point you to another of his books, Authentic Happiness.

Here is the publisher’s synopsis:

Over a decade ago, Martin Seligman charted a new approach to living with “flexible optimism.” Now, in his most stimulating and persuasive book to date, the bestselling author of Learned Optimism introduces the revolutionary, scientifically based idea of “Positive Psychology.” Positive Psychology focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses, asserting that happiness is not the result of good genes or luck. Seligman teaches readers that happiness can be cultivated by identifying and using many of the strengths and traits that they already possess — including kindness, originality, humor, optimism, and generosity. By frequently calling upon their “signature strengths” in all the crucial realms of life, readers will not only develop natural buffers against misfortune and the experience of negative emotion, they will move their lives up to a new, more positive plane.

Drawing on groundbreaking psychological research, Seligman shows how Positive Psychology is shifting the profession’s paradigm away from its narrow-minded focus on pathology, victimology, and mental illness to positive emotion, virtue and strength, and positive institutions. Our signature strengths can be nurtured throughout our lives, with benefits to our health, relationships, and careers.

Seligman provides the Signature Strengths Survey along with a variety of brief tests that can be used to measure how much positive emotion readers experience, in order to help determine what their highest strengths are. The life-changing lesson of Authentic Happiness is that by identifying the very best in ourselves, we can improve the world around us and achieve new and sustainable levels of authentic contentment,gratification, and meaning.

What I find so useful in this book is that it encourages you not to spend time trying to be the things you aren’t, but really encourages discovering what makes you fundamentally your best self, and building a better life around that. He also doesn’t define happiness in a superficial way, by equating it with pleasure, but by equating it with a combination of pleasure and concepts like flow and meaning. Essentially he is inviting people to find their “calling” — what they are uniquely fit to do — and to dive in with both feet.

And I love Seligman’s ongoing commitment to making sure his ideas hold up when submitted to rigorous empirical testing. He builds a whole body of research around his work to ensure that he is not just spouting nonsense. I deeply respect the fact that he values that kind of scrutiny of his thinking. It takes courage to invite people to prove your cherished ideas wrong if that’s what they turn out to be.

Take a peek at the book and see what you think. What are YOUR signature strengths and how will you use them?

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Books I Recommend to clients: Part 1

I often ask my clients to read books that will help them understand changes that they can make and help support them as they work on making them. One of the ones I recommend most frequently is the following:

via Learned Optimism, Vintage Series, Martin E. Seligman, (9781400078394) Paperback – Barnes & Noble

“From the Publisher

Known as the father of the new science of positive psychology, Martin E.P. Seligman draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to demonstrate how optimism enchances the quality of life, and how anyone can learn to practice it. Offering many simple techniques, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I—give-up” habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue. These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier..

With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school, at work and in children, Learned Optimism is both profound and practical–and valuable for every phase of life.”

Optimistic thinking, which attributes difficulties to specific, temporary causes rather than permanent, global, personal ones, is great insurance against depression and anxiety, but many of us don’t do it naturally.  This book explains all about why it’s worth the work to change your style of thinking, and then provides tools to begin to track and modify your thinking.  Check it out!

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Weekly Posting Goal

In an attempt to keep this blog fresh and relevant to my clients and other readers, I am joining the WordPress PostaWeek2011 Challenge. So keep your eyes open for new and useful psychology resources on a weekly basis from you faithful therablogger!

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