Sandy’s Distraction *
I don’t usually use music in my practice but I want to tell you about a client who had a strange musical experience in our session. Sandy, a 46 year-old receptionist, told me that she’d been depressed ever since her divorce a year earlier, and despite doing her best to get on with life she couldn’t seem to break out of her sadness. I asked her to describe her feelings in detail and she said, “I feel lost and sad and empty but I try not to focus on it. It’s such a struggle.”
What’s the first thing you think of when you feel messed up in your life? If you’re like most people, it's, “I gotta get rid of this issue.” But the conventional wisdom on how to deal with problems—meaning whatever disturbs you in your life—is all wrong.Read More
When I lived in Switzerland I worked in a neuroscience lab for a while looking at brain scans of depressed people. I noticed that what we did in the lab and what the public thought we did were two entirely different things. I was doing my doctorate in clinical psychology and was well aware that there’s always going to be a gap in what the public understands about science but this particular misunderstanding disturbed me because of its implications.Read More
Jeremy's Silent Fight *
Jeremy was a twenty-year-old man who came to my practice in Zurich at the insistence of his parents and doctors. He had stopped speaking, wouldn’t go to his university classes, and had withdrawn into his apartment. When his parents visited him he sat completely still in the corner, wouldn’t talk to them, and didn’t even make eye contact. They forced him to see a psychiatrist who diagnosed him with Selective Mutism Disorder which is a type of social anxiety that makes one clam up in certain situations. The diagnosis didn’t make any sense to his parents since Jeremy had always been outgoing, so they sent him to another shrink.