Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Foods Your Brain will Thank You For

Having as healthy a brain as possible can't help but be good for psychotherapy.

Nutritionist Barbara Mendez, who has guest posted here, wrote a post a while back on her own blog Roots and Seeds titled Six Foods Your Brain Will Thank You For.

Here are the six foods - to read more about how each is good for your brain, click on the link above.

  • Blueberries
  • Wild Alaskan salmon
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Avacados
  • Flax
  • Cacao

Hmmm, cacao... chocolate... None of those foods sound hard to take, do they? I get a daily dose of flax by sprinkling ground flax seeds on my cereal (get the vacuum packed kind for freshness). This kind of good nutrition will help your brain make the most of the good work you're doing in therapy.

Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW
Psychotherapy on Manhattan's Upper West Side

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Our Brains are Wired for Connection to Others

Our brains are hard-wired for connection

Forbes Magazine recently published an interesting article titled Study: To The Human Brain, Me Is We. Here's the heart of the article:
A new study from University of Virginia researchers supports a finding that’s been gaining science-fueled momentum in recent years: the human brain is wired to connect with others so strongly that it experiences what they experience as if it’s happening to us.
If you read the abstract of the study (scholarly language for "summary"), you'll find that the researchers used fMRI scans of the study participants' brains to compare their reactions to a perceived threat to themselves with their reactions to a perceived threat to a friend and to threats to strangers.

The researchers' description of the subjects' reactions uses names of brain parts that most of ua are not familiar with, but what it boils down to is that we react physically the same way to threats against the people we feel most connected to as we do to threats against ourselves. But not to threats against strangers.

It seems that we don't have built in wiring for stranger empathy, but we are hard-wired for empathy for the people we're close to. How we experience threats to them is the same way we experience threats to ourselves.

The article also references the work of Dr. Dan Siegel, one of my favorite neurobiology authors and teachers. Dr. Siegel writes eloquently and accessibly (to non neuro-trained people) about the importance of connectivity to the creation of what we call the mind.

If you'd like to read more about that, here are two excellent books. (The second one is the more technical.)
The Developing Mind
The results of the University of Virginia study are useful information for psychotherapists, since so many of the things our clients come to us for are related to their connection to others.

Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW
Upper West Side Counseling

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Decluttering for Mental Well-being

An interesting and helpful article by professional organizer Marcia Sloman of Under Control is titled Why People Hold onto Stuff and may help you understand yourself better.

Personally, this office makes me feel something could fall on my head at any moment.

Whereas this one makes me want to get to work.

If this kind of change appeals to you and you're stuck about making it happen, you may want to contact Marcia if you are in the Tri-State area. If you're not local, consult the National Association of Professional Organizers directory.

If you're really stuck, also consider counseling.

Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW
Upper West Side Psychotherapy

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Best Description of Depression

"The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment." Andrew Solomon says this about depression in his TEDx talk that eloquently and accurately describes the experience of depression for many.


Does this resonate for you? If you aren't getting help with depression, please seek it. If you're concerned about medications, there are alternatives to consider.

Please ask questions here on the blog or email me.

Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW
Upper West Side Counseling

Monday, July 14, 2014

Urban Green Area Residents are Happier

BBC News article Green spaces have lasting positive effect on well-being says that urban dwellers who move to a greener urban area experience more positive effects than if they get a promotion or a new job.

I know New York City's wonderful parks contribute to emotional well-being. Research has shown that as little as 20 minutes spent in a natural setting improves mood.

I feel fortunate that my office is a five minute walk from both Central Park and Riverside Park. Many of my
clients make a segue through one of the parks on their way to or from my office.

Find some "green time" for yourself. It makes a difference.

Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW
Upper West Side Psychotherapy

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sleep Therapy Seen as Aid for Depression

According to the New York Times article, Sleep Therapy Seen as Aid for Depression, curing insomnia can double the chance that people with depression will recover fully.

Why am I not surprised? Because for more than 25 years that's been my experience treating depression. When sleep improves, everything gets better. Depression can appear to cause sleep loss - the famous 3am staring at the ceiling depression wakeup - and sleep deprivation can trigger depression.

Helping my clients with sleep issues has become an important part of my work.

It's always seemed like a chicken or the egg question to me. I'm really happy to see it being studied.

Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW
Upper West Side Psychotherapy