You might be depressed about being depressed

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Oxford professor Mark Williams notes that many adults suffering from serious depression are essentially discouraged and hopeless about feeling discouraged and hopeless. In other words, they are depressed about being depressed.

All, or nearly all, or us experiences low moods. These can be associated with experiencing disappointments, frustrations, changes in relationships, etc. These low moods needn’t be permanent, nor interfere with quality of life. Most of us simply notice the emotion and then go about our business, and the feeling changes ...

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‘Careful, Your Prejudice is Showing

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There is much discussion in this country right now on the topic of racial prejudice. Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri have pushed it to the forefront of national media and local minds alike.

But what is prejudice? “Prejudice is prejudgment, or forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. The word is often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because of gender, political opinion, social class, age, disability, religion, ...

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Life is Precious

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I have to say that I was very surprised to see the strong response to my last column. Clearly I offended Steve Oakey with some of my statements on the topic of suicide. I like Steve, and agree that there is great value in public debate of important topics. And no topic could be more important than the sanctity of human life.

But I very much regret that Steve misunderstood me to suggest that his comments somehow related to or caused ...

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Sometimes You Gotta Take a Break

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I am writing this week’s column from exotic Richfield, Utah where Ruth and I have spent a couple of days with Trevor and Miranda—our oldest son and his wife—and their 3.4 kids. (Child number 4 is due in April.) We brought our six-year old granddaughter, Emma, as a surprise guest for her cousin, Allie’s, sixth birthday celebration.

Other than the “fallout” from car sickness everything has gone well so far. (Maybe fast food and seven hours of Angry Birds and educational ...

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The Paradox of Protection

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Working closely with young gang members in Southern California helped me to better understand the drive many feel to “get even”. Revenge seems to offer protection from being hurt, something we all desire.

A young lady recently told me, “Nice people get walked on. If I come off as mean and insincere people won’t take advantage of me.” How sad that many kind-hearted people harden their hearts as a means of protecting themselves from potential pain, only to find that this ...

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You Can Never Really Get Even

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In 1990 I sat in my office with five or six young men, aged 16 to 18. We had been talking about the gang activity that led to their being sentenced to the residential treatment program where I worked, and where they lived. A little more open than most of the residents in the program, this small group was willing to talk privately on a sensitive subject.

Street vengeance had played a bit role in how each of these guys ended ...

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We Are All Power Hungry

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Over the years I have taught parenting classes to an assortment of groups and in a variety of venues. But the most memorable has to be the series of classes i taught to “a captive audience” in Lompoc Federal Penitentiary.

I learned a great deal in that class. There I came to appreciate the tremendous need we all have to make choices regarding our own lives—that people who lack a sense of personal power will do ANYTHING to regain that sense ...

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In Defense of Fido

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Evidence has been piling up for years: animals can have great therapeutic effects of people of all ages.

While scanning the web for research I saw that the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine held an entire conference on “animal assisted interventions in adolescent mental health”. While I was a bit surprised it should come as no shock to any of us that animals can have a definite healing or soothing effect.

Last week we discussed the need each of us ...

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Why Mick Jagger Can’t Get No Satisfaction

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Since 1965 we’ve heard Mick and the Rolling Stones wailing about their inability to get a sense of satisfaction. Could it be that Mick is making a mistake—I mean, in addition to slaughtering the English language?

Always remember this: You can never get enough of what you don’t need, because what you don’t need cannot satisfy you.

This axiom goes a long way toward explaining human foibles. We can become fixated on behaviors that have no real capacity for meeting our very ...

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Responding to Your Responses

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Last week the Standard-Journal published thoughtful and respectful responses to my last two columns. At first I was a bit self-conscious of the critiques. But since I am a licensed therapist I scheduled some time to talk to myself, and I’m okay now. (Too bad I can’t bill my insurance!)

As these responses were written to appropriately challenge my thoughts in the public forum, I hope it is okay to respond in like manner. I have hoped that my columns would ...

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