Archive for the 'Psychology' Category

What Do Sartre and Buddha Have in Common?

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

They have both contributed to contemporary psychotherapy without knowing.

There two major concepts in contemporary psychotherapy: “here and now” and self-responsibility. Being responsible of each and every event, good or bed, is a notion that psychotherapists would like their patients to gain. If you are robbed, that is your responsibility. You had to know that that street was not safe. You had to know that in that time of day, this area is not secure. You had to know that carrying that much money / valuables by you is not a good practice. Irvin Yalom puts out that if Sartre was living today he would say that the Iraqi invasion and hunger in Africa are your responsibilities because you could do something to prevent them both.

Psychologists today are no different than Sartre in that sense. Many books on psychotherapy talk about how you are responsible of a misbehaving parent, spouse, friend, society. This is not to advice to save the world. The idea is that you have the choice to avoid such situations. You are responsible for putting yourself into trouble or not. You choose what you will live and experience. You also choose how you feel about this and that.

This was the Sartre part. On the other hand, contemporary psychology is deeply affected bu Buddhist perspective. Here and now approach of solving daily problems or working on complexes that emerged from the past is highly similar to Buddhist teaching.

On any day you feel blue, both a zen master and a psychotherapist would say that this life, you have to live through your stress and anxiety. Thus you will solve it. Beyond that, they would also say that you should forget thinking about yesterday and worrying about tomorrow. Today, this moment is the most important to you.

Therefore, it would be accurate to say that contemporary psychotherapy relies really much on Sartre and Buddha.

Psychotherapy and Death

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Death is to be evaluated in two major ways in a dynamic therapy. First, its about one’s fear and concerns about his/her own death. Second, its about grief and emotional pain that emerges from a loss of a loved one.

Both of them are very much related to one’s anxiety about his/her own end.

In dynamic therapy, the notion of death, or consciousness thereof is a mean to open the individual’s path to activate his/her will to life.

Theory believes that the fact to know that someday you are going to die would help your therapeutic process. It’s true that for some people, it acts as a motivating force to know that he/she isn’t immortal. However, for some people its just like “if I am going to day anyway, why would I bother about my life”. So this awareness of death would help or not, it depends on the person.

To create this awareness, some techniques are used. Most of them are about dreaming of one’s own funeral, burial, etc. Writing of one’s own obituary is another method of initiating awareness about death.

Dream analysis and interpretation is also used in this process. Symbols such as seeing yourself wounded or your body modified is usually interpreted as referring to your fears of death.

Briefly, it may help if you realize that you are not going to live forever and every second of your life is worth living.

How to enjoy your responsibilities

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

I have promised to write about this responsibilities issue.

There are lots of methods for developing a kind feeling towards your responsibilities but I don’t like many of them because they lead people to more stress and anxiety.

I prefer an analytical method, an analysis of what I want to do and how my current responsibilities are related to that. That means, whenever you have to carry the garbage and this is not something you like, know that this is something on your path that goes to another thing you like. If what you like is snowboarding and if snowboarding takes the act of having the garbage carried already, then it is very real that carrying the garbage is on your way to something you would like to do.

Why? Because life isn’t divided into pieces, a person’s life is a whole thing. There isn’t only the most favorite meal of you but also the time and effort it takes to eat it, if not prepare it or taking the walk to a restaurant.

And no, this isn’t about reward and punishment. This is something else. I don’t believe in reward and punishment systems either, not in religious terms I mean.

Briefly, realize that something labeled as responsibility that came along your way is most probably the step or the mean to what you really want. You can do this judgment.

Another issue here is to define responsibility. Anything can be labeled as responsibility but what responsibility is yours? Is drug recovery a responsibility for you if you are addicted or is it your health personnel’s responsibility? How is this responsibility divided? I hope to come with some definitions with that in following days.

You Have Every Reason To Feel Better

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

I think the worst effect of the novel Pollyanna is the popular imagery of an optimistic person in people’s mind. This novel is so popular and so talked-upon that the character named Pollyanna has been exaggerated in her optimistic nature. We always make fun out of her optimism. Unfortunately, we tend to humiliate this optimism later on.

If you take something good and make so much fun out of it, it becomes the new bad thing. So, under peer pressure, we decide that optimism is not good to deal with life. Everybody looks like that they would accept us and agree with us when we tend to be pessimistic about life. Therefore many people try to win the race of being the first who criticize the other. It feels like when you are the first to criticize the other or simply yourself, then there is no room for others to criticize you.

The truth is that we don’t like to hear criticism, even the ones that people call constructive criticism. Once the name includes criticism, it signifies that somebody is going to have a say over our behavior. Of course, this is a wrong perception. However perception becomes reality.

In fact, most of the time, human being’s depression and anxiety is about living and being. Since you exist and most probably you are not going to die in the moment, you have every reason to feel better. Better than nothing.

Well, now, this was really so brief. Please bear with me while I’ll have more time to cover this topic.

Debunking The Carpe Diem Myth

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Carpe diem is a latin phrase and means “seize the day”. It’s a brilliant teaching. It suggests that the time is always now and its more important than the past and the future. So true.

However, I see that many people have the urge to seize the day so much that they end up with seizures about the day instead of seizing the day.

Any teaching can become an anxiety. Our main failure with our lives is that we only pay attention to it when there is a problem. In fact, there is always the problem of being.

And when we start paying attention only after life hits somehow, then our teachings, life-hacks, therapies etc. become our new disorders and sources of anxiety.

The exit point of such an anxiety is to understand that if we want to seize the day, the method is not talking about seizing the day a day long. It’s about to stop talking about carpe diem and  trying to understand that we live anyway, the day is not ahead but within us.

Depending too much on wise quotes is just about preparing yourself a new prison and this is a strong way of maintaining depression and anxiety.

Saddam’s Execution as a Remote Trauma

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Traumatic events not only occur right in front of you. It is sufficient to witness something inhumane through a TV screen or a computer monitor to experience a traumatic event and carry on with its effects.

We all have been witnessed to Saddam’s execution who committed crimes against humanity and caused hundreds of thousands of people to experience live traumatic events if not millions.

However, thanks to our lightning fast technology of information networking, Saddam made us experience another trauma indirectly while saying goodbye to world.

Now, when people witness such events which seems like they have a mild effect, in fact our mind and unconscious are highly affected. When you see somebody executed by hanging on a movie, your brain helps you to forget what you feel during this experience really quickly. However, the feeling and the experience are not gone too far. They reside in your mind, they hide themselves from your conscious and find themselves places in your unconscious.

Furthermore, they become connected to your past self-experiences, feelings, etc. without making you feel anything on the surface. It is very possible that you have had headaches, low mood, less sleep or less appetite after having seen the execution somehow, without having the scenery in your conscious mind. This is sufficient enough to present you with a mild trauma.

Well, this is the world we are living in and unfortunately there are no room to escape from such occurrences. What we can do about it may be paying attention to our children so that they don’t have this traumatic experiences. Children tend to become a little more affected by scenery like this. They feel guilty. Save them.

Your Charm Does Not Depend On Your Body

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Being cool and charming is fun and nice. Paying attention to being cool and charming every hour is a huge syndrome of this and the last century. Apart from becoming an anorexic or bulimic, people spend astronomical amounts of money and effort in aesthetic surgery, cosmetics and several unhealthy exercise programs. If you only knew that being presentable, charming or cool doesn’t depend on your body or how you look like in a picture, you would not just be happier but you would be also more cool, charming and good looking than ever.

However physically beautiful or good looking you are, a minor drop in your mood would make you look like less charming than you normally are.

If you pay close attention to your friends, relatives, co-workers, etc. you will notice that there are so many people that attract you who are not physically beautiful or good looking at all.

Imagine that your favorite actress had breast cancer and she had a surgery and suddenly she left one of her breasts. What would change in you in terms of your liking against her. Not much, because you have an idea of her in your mind that goes behind her physical being. You have seen her in a couple of movies or shows and you have not only her image in your mind but also an experience of her aura.

So, if you insist on just making up things physically on your body and not pay attention to your soul, you are building a destructive force for your charm. It’s like shopping for food while you are hungry and thus get everything in the market regardless of whether you need it or not.

In order not to end up with countless effort for your beauty with no avail, start beautifying your soul first and when you feel that you love yourself enough then pass on to the physical side, and continue to beautify yourself that way too.

Try it, It’s good for your health.

Sam Cyrous’ Psy Space

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Sam Cyrous, who is an online friend of mine, started “phoenix ad aeternum“, his psychology blog in English. Worth having a look at it.

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