Thursday, April 28, 2011


Emotional Affairs occur when the primary relationship has become dead or cut off in some way. Often these affairs start up in compensation for some real intimacy at home. Many big life events trigger these affairs as people feel more needy than usual. A death in the family, children coming or going, turning big marker ages 40,50,60, job reentry, school reentry, financial stress, illness etc......... can all be triggers for a change in the primary relationship and an opening for an emotional affair.


1- Your friendship has secrets

2- You confide in your friend more than to your spouse

3- You have more excitement to meet/talk with friend than spouse

4- You feel more your self and freer with friend

5- You take better care of yourself before contact with friend

6- You have sexual fantasies about friend

7- You hide the amount of contact you do have from spouse

8-You give your friend special gifts and treats

9- You get into fights with your spouse about your friend

10- You want exclusive time with your friend and you keep your spouse separate from your friend

11- When you think of getting away or taking a day off you think of doing it with your friend and not your spouse

12- You are defensive about your friend's faults to your spouse and get extra heated about any criticism

13- You are feeling more and more distant from your spouse and don't want to deal with it

14- You start talking more to your friend about your problems in your relationship

15- You are much kinder and more forgiving with your friend than your spouse

16- You find yourself telling more and more little lies to your partner

If you can say YES to more than 6 of these signs then odds are you are on the slippery slope to an EMOTIONAL AFFAIR. The best remedy is to fully acknowledge the lapse in your primary relationship and turn all attention to repairing the primary intimacy. Everyone needs close friends and close friends are not ever a threat to a truly intimate relationship.

Jennifer Freed Ph.D. Psychotherapist and Educator in Santa Barbara, California

Author of rave reviewed "LESSONS FROM STANLEY THE CAT" a mature audience book published by Penguin.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

More To Ponder

Liberal, Conservative Related to Different Brain Structures

By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on April 11, 2011

Liberal, Conservative Related to Different Brain StructuresEmerging research suggests personality traits and even political orientation are linked to preferred use and corresponding size variance of different areas of our brain.

A new study suggests individuals who call themselves liberals are more likely to have brains that have a larger anterior cingulate cortex while conservatives have larger amygdalas.

According to what is known about the functions of those two brain regions, the structural differences are consistent with some reports showing a greater ability of liberals to cope with conflicting information and a greater ability of conservatives to recognize a threat.

The study is found in the online version of Current Biology.

“Previously, some psychological traits were known to be predictive of an individual’s political orientation,” said Ryota Kanai of the University College London. “Our study now links such personality traits with specific brain structure.”

Kanai said his study was prompted by reports from others showing greater anterior cingulate cortex response to conflicting information among liberals.

“That was the first neuroscientific evidence for biological differences between liberals and conservatives,” he explained.

Prior research has suggested that conservatives are more sensitive to threat or anxiety in the face of uncertainty, while liberals tend to be more open to new experiences.

Kanai’s team suspected that such fundamental differences in personality might show up in the brain.

Nevertheless, researchers cannot determine if the size of our brain structures shape personality, or if brain structures are shaped by what an individual experiences and believes over the course of a lifetime.

Further, things are usually more complicated with political views spanning a large spectrum rather than simply liberal or conservative.

“In principle, our research method can be applied to find brain structure differences in political dimensions other than the simplistic left- versus right-wingers,” Kanai said.

Perhaps differences in the brain explain why some people really have no interest in politics at all or why some people line up for Macs while others stick with their PCs. All of these tendencies may be related in interesting ways to the peculiarities of our personalities and in turn to the way our brains are put together.

Still, Kanai cautioned against taking the findings too far, citing many uncertainties about how the correlations they see come about.

“It’s very unlikely that actual political orientation is directly encoded in these brain regions,” he said. “More work is needed to determine how these brain structures mediate the formation of political attitude.”

Source: Cell Press

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Thursday, April 14, 2011


Are You Headed For A Mental Breakdown?

Apr. 11 2011 - 3:49 pm | 1,204 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

When Charlie Sheen jumped off of the sanity train in March in the midst of a highly publicized media circus, much was made about his mental state.

Charlie Sheen isn’t funny, he’s sick,” the Los Angeles Timeswrote.

Fox News attributed his antics to the “’high’ phase of bipolar disorder.

In an hour-long special titled Charlie Sheen: Winning?… Or Losing It?TV’s Dr. Drew Pinsky confirmed he believes Sheen should be institutionalized immediately for his “acute psychiatric emergency.”


But what if you can relate to what Sheen is going through? Been there? Maybe not the goddesses and tiger blood part, but the sheer nervous tension and on-the-verge-of-sanity of it all. You’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 26% of American adults are currently suffering from mental health disorders—18% of us from conditions that are rooted in anxiety. Are we on the verge of a nation-wide mental breakdown?

Many mental health professionals have described it as potential psychosis, a broad term that describes a person who is no longer behaving in accordance with reality. That’s where the term mental breakdown applies, says Robert Epstein, Ph.D., a research psychologist and former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today. “If someone has become psychotic, they’ve more or less had a break from reality.”

But while Sheen’s drug abusing, hotel trashing and ranting behavior were highly publicized, for the Jane and Joe Q. Privates of the world the signs they’re headed for mental distress can be easy to miss. “Charlie Sheen is an externalizer,” says Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and therapist based in Santa Barbara, Calif. “His rage, destabilization and mania are all on display. But the vast majority of people are silent sufferers. And as they break down it’s as if they’re becoming more and more invisible.”


In the workplace when we see that someone’s mental health is deteriorating, that rarely means they’re going to become psychotic, Epstein points out. Instead, most cases of mental distress at work are a consequence of overload, or an accumulation of stressors that can take a variety of forms. “Maybe they have too much work to do, they’re behind on a project, their boss is abusive, they can’t pay their bills,” he says. “In the workplace stress can build over time and have very dire consequences.”

“There’s no one way that people respond to stress,” says Dave Jennings, Ph.D., a consultant who works with large corporations during transitions or periods of organization change—times when stress can become evident at work. “As a result, it’s often hard to pinpoint when a person’s behavior is really a warning sign.”

The problem, then, is recognizing troubling behavior in yourself and in the people around you to better help yourself deal with compounding stressors before you fall into the black hole of a mental break. Lack of sleep, increased irritability, a change in eating habits or poor focus on task at hand can be indicators that something is amiss. But it’s often easy to miss the link between these problems and your emotional or mental health.


This is not to say that people won’t be aware that they are isolating themselves—surely you’d realize if you’re turning down every social event that comes your way. “People do notice what’s happening to themselves,” says Epstein. “They know that they’re not sleeping. But the problem is that they don’t know what it means. People often have no idea what it means or that their behavior might be a sign of something easily treatable and so the result is that they’re not reaching out for help.”

Depending on how far symptoms progress, Epstein warns of a snowball effect as a troubled person notices changes in his or her self–and becomes anxious about it. “That adds stress on top of stress,” he says. “The stress of changing and the awareness of those changes without understanding the meaning can be compounded.” As the stress feeds upon itself, and a person grows increasingly socially isolated, she or he is even less likely to seek help.

“As people become more and more stressed they tend to withdraw into themselves,” says Epstein, who warns that social isolation can be one of the best predictors that someone is headed towards an emotional crisis. It’s a double edged sword, he says, because at the same time that the troubled person is withdrawing, their behavior towards the people in their life can also make them less loveable. How many times can you turn down your coworkers’ invitation to lunch before they stop asking you?

Only so many.

Beyond skipping social occasions, there are other signals you may be giving off in the workplace that should warn colleagues—and yourself—that all is not well. Your once clean desktop is now piled with old newspapers, yesterday’s coffee cups and useless paperwork? “The disorganized mind often shows itself in disorganized surroundings,” Freed says. Take note of your office, and what it could be telling you about your mental stability.

The first step when you notice your behavior is off or your stress levels are rising is to ask for help, doctors and mental health professional uniformly agree, whether from a professional, family member or friend. Epstein also suggests taking advantage of online resources, like, a site he’s developed with a series of questions that can help you better understand your mental state. “It doesn’t diagnose you, but it indicates whether or not you should probably consult a therapist or counselor and what you should tell them. It gives you language to use.”

But Freed insists that the second, and possibly the most important, step isto take some personal time to work through the individual items that are causing stress in your life. Whether this is time off from work or simply taking a step back to look at your situation from a different perspective, the time is key to healing before the pressure reaches a boiling point. “Usually this kind of mounting pressure that can lead to an explosion is on people who don’t give themselves permission to take time for themselves. Think of Charlie Sheen,” she cautions. “He never got out of the rat race. And look where he wound up.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

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