Photo of emotional woman by Christian Fregnan for blog post: Emotion as Instinct

Emotion as Instinct

by Afshan Mohamedali, Ph.D

Touch a hot stove and your hand starts to hurt because of the pain. That’s your brain’s way of telling you something. Perhaps don’t touch a hot stove? Without our body and brain working in tandem to interpret pain signals, we wouldn’t be aware that our body needs care or that there is something to do differently next time. Emotions work in telling us something in the same way that physical pain does. When we have a strong relationship with ourselves and our feeling states, we can use emotions as instincts. Emotions are usually an internal reaction to something, whether …

Couple Holding Hands Over Coffee - Key to Healthy Relationships

The Key to Healthier Relationships

by Allison Abrams, LCSW-R

How partners can help one another change unhealthy patterns of attachment Originally published on Psychology Today According to attachment theory, we each develop a style of attachment—the way we relate to others—based on the relationship we had with our primary caregiver. This then becomes the template onto which we project most of our adult relationships. When our basic needs are met consistently by an attentive and loving caregiver, we develop a secure attachment to that caregiver and thus a secure attachment style. Psychologists refer to this type of caregiver as the good enough parent. Children who develop this style of …

Photo of Couple Arguing - How to Keep Jealousy From Sabotaging Your Relationship

How to Keep Jealousy From Sabotaging Your Relationship

by Allison Abrams, LCSW-R

Is there a cure for jealousy, and can it actually bring couples closer together? Originally published on Psychology Today We are all born with basic instincts and tendencies that drive our behavior. Some of these instincts are essential to our well-being, such as the drive for love and belonging. Others are not so desirable, such as rage or addiction. However, all of our drives — the good, the bad, and the ugly — are an innate part of the human experience, and each serves a purpose. One of the most potentially destructive of instincts is jealousy. It is also one …

Woman Looking Out Window - Understanding Depression

Understanding Depression Beyond Biology

by Allison Abrams, LCSW-R

A multitude of factors contribute to the development of clinical depression. Originally published on Psychology Today When it comes to the etiology of clinical depression, the question most often asked is: Is it biological or environmental? The answer to this question, according to Dr. Myrna Weissman, professor of epidemiology in psychiatry at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center is: “yes.” Depression isn’t simply environmental or biological. It is both. “There are a number of factors involved.” Says Weissman. “Temperament, personality traits, self-esteem, negative outlook, early losses, genes, family history, changes in brain structure, medical problems, certain medications, hormones, all contribute.” …

Maintaining Confidence Throughout the Dating Process

by Allison Abrams, LCSW-R

10 steps to a healthy relationship Originally published on Psychology Today In my last post, “The Psychology of Modern Dating,” I describe some of the challenges that come with dating in a digital age and their effects on fundamental interpersonal processes. Despite the potential pitfalls, it is possible to take the pain out of dating. Below are some steps you can take to preserve your sense of worth and emotional well-being as you embark on the journey to love. 1. Know your worth. Self-worth refers to the value you attribute to yourself as a person, across situations and independent of …

The Psychology of Modern Dating

by Allison Abrams, LCSW-R

How online dating is changing our fundamental interpersonal processes. Originally published on Psychology Today Navigating the modern dating world can be a venture rife with disappointment and disillusionment. On the other hand, dating can lead to a lifelong partnership. Sadly, for many it is more often the former. From dating fatigue to the sting of rejection, even the most confident daters are not immune to the negative effects of dating on psychological and emotional well-being. And for those who struggle with self-worth, these effects can be especially harmful. Online shopping for mates According to social researchers, “Online dating has produced …

Forgiveness, Healing, and the Power of Compassion

by Allison Abrams, LCSW-R

By letting go of grudges, you’re not simply letting the other person off the hook—you’re taking a step toward a healthier mind and body Originally published on Goodtherapy Forgiveness: one of those necessary evils in life. The stubborn, self-righteous child inside of you will do anything to avoid it; but, as the saying goes, to not do so is to slowly poison yourself while secretly hoping the other person dies. By holding on to grudges and hurts, the only one you are poisoning is yourself. The poison being hatred and anger, two dangerous emotions that haven’t been known to do …

Why Some People Get Depressed After Surgery

Why Some People Get Depressed After Surgery—Even if They’ve Recovered Just Fine

Originally posted on • by Shabnaj Chowdhury • February 06, 2019 Postoperative depression is a common complication of surgery, though it’s rarely talked about. In November of last year, after having surgery to remove abnormal cells from her cervix, 27-year-old Emma Wolf felt, well, depressed. The surgery, though invasive, was a minor one. In fact, her doctor told her a day of rest would be all she needed to feel like herself again. She wasn’t warned, however, about the lingering emotional effects that would last for weeks. “I felt disconnected from my own body,” Wolf tells Health. “I had a sense …

The Psychology of Modern Dating

How to Choose a Partner Who Will Value You

by Allison Abrams, LCSW-R

How self-compassion leads to healthier relationships. “To attempt to love someone who cannot benefit from your love with spiritual growth is to waste your energy, to cast your seed on arid ground.” —M. Scott Peck, M.D., The Road Less Traveled. On the sometimes-painful road to self-compassion, there are many lessons to be learned along the way. Some of the most valuable often come in the form of relationships. If you struggle with self-worth

The Ugly Dance of Contempt by Jett Stone, Ph.D

The Ugly Dance of Contempt

by Jett Stone, Ph.D

Eye rolls, sighs, snorts and tongue clicks, lip curls, sarcasm, trolling tweets and silent treatment. These are the sights and sounds of contempt. The lopsided sneer makes for the only asymmetrical human facial expression, and is cold heartedly clear in its message to recipients: I’m up here. You’re down there. Contempt is a display of smug superiority over an unworthy person or party. Contemptuous people exclude and dismiss others as irreconcilably inferior or flawed. Marriage researcher John Gottman and his University of Washington team famously found contemptuous communication between couples to be the biggest predictor of romantic relationship collapse. Gottman …




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