In his book, Permission to Feel,” Marc Brackett, Founding Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, argues for the importance of privileging, understanding, and utilizing our emotions. He shows how regulating our emotions hinges on our ability to identify and name them and have them honored and understood by others. And he argues that our success in life is much more influenced by our ability to tolerate and manage all of our emotions than it is on our intelligence or knowledge. Indeed, if we are not well-regulated emotionally, our ability to capitalize on our skills and knowledge will be … Continue reading What do you know about Marc Brackett’s Permission to Feel?
We are in a cultural era devoted to the cultivation of happiness. The website Brightside offers a list of ten movies that “show the way to happiness.” Very Well Mind offers tips on how to “cultivate a sense of happiness” … Continue reading Building Resilience
Decision-making in the time of COVID can be, for many of us, overwhelming. Things we never had to consider before are now areas of concern. Should we go to a Broadway play or museum? Should we attend a sporting event indoors? Should we go to that concert, where people will sit shoulder to shoulder, even though it is outside? When it comes to children too young to be vaccinated, the calculus becomes even more complicated. It is clear that children need contact outside the family. In infancy and early childhood, they benefit greatly from contact with grandparents aunts, uncles, cousins. … Continue reading Decision-Making in a Pandemic
As a result of the quarantine, new studies are starting to come out showing that being online all day can affect your health, make you anxious, give you headaches, affect your vision, and affect your sleep. Long before we were sheltering in place, Melissa Pandika in “The Unexpected Effects of all that Screen Time,” reported on symptoms shown by children, tweens, teens and adults as a result of too much screen time. Although the internet can allow for community building and connection, Pandika, quoting Delaney Ruston, a physician and documentary filmmaker who produced Screenagers, warns that social development can be … Continue reading 5 Things to Do Under Quarantine
It’s a challenging time for working parents with young children. If they are considered essential workers and must leave their homes, they may struggle with childcare needs that are difficult to meet. If they are fortunate enough to continue their jobs by working from home, they may struggle with the competing agendas of work while homeschooling and entertaining their children. Interestingly, with the cancelation of nearly all of children’s organized activities, children are being forced to occupy themselves, to learn to play independently without being directed by an adult. In the New York Times, Kate Rope, author of Strong as … Continue reading Play Under Quarantine
I want to say a few things about the effects of trauma and what you can do to help yourselves and your children through this difficult time. Children take their cues from parents, so it is vitally important that you take care of yourselves so that you can be optimally available, emotionally, to your children. In a Youtube video addressing COVID-19, Bessel van der Kolk, trauma expert and author of the book The Body Keeps the Score, says, Being in a situation where you cannot do what you always do, where you are basically rendered helpless, that’s the definition of … Continue reading For Parents During COVID-19
A 7 year old I know just told me that she got her first cell phone. She’s proud and happy, but the reality of a 7 year old with a phone gives me pause. I find myself wondering what she will be doing on this phone. Who will she text or call? What games will she be playing? How much will this phone take her away from direct contact with her friends?
I walk with my dog around a pond in my town. Sometimes I see kids there. They used to be fishing in the pond, skipping rocks, or just walking around and talking with one another. Now, I see 3 boys, probably around 12, sitting on a bench. Each is looking at his phone. They are not talking. They are not skipping rocks. They are not even looking at the beautiful pond or noticing the blue heron standing in the shallows on the far end. My dog sees all these things, even the boys on their phone. But the boys are watching their screens. Continue reading “A 7-Year Old I know Just Got Her First Cell Phone”
In the first phase of treatment, all of our patients interview us. They are checking to be sure that we will be helpful and not harmful. Patience, the willingness to wait, and curiosity about what is growing beneath the surface of things are, perhaps, two of a psychoanalyst’s most important tools. In intensive psychotherapeutic treatment the analyst needs the capacity to not know, to contain the feeling of not knowing, and to allow the mind to drift and wander. It’s all there in the memory banks, but to be effective in finding it, the analyst must be comfortable living with … Continue reading Review of “A Four-and-a-Half Year Old Boy Who Had Dropped Out of the World – The Most Amazing Analytic Experience I Have Ever Had” Presented by Dr. Martin Silverman
Mentalization is the uniquely human (or so we think) ability to know one’s own mind and also the minds of others. The ability to mentalize develops in early childhood, consolidating at around 5 to 7 years old. It is the faculty of mind that allows us to understand that we have intentions, wishes, desires, feelings, hopes, knowledge, and plans, that others do as well. Moreover, once we have achieved mentalization, we also know that minds are opaque; in other words, we can guess what’s in someone else’s mind, but we can’t know it for sure unless we ask. The theory of … Continue reading Mindreading and Mindblindness
Selma Fraiberg, social worker and psychoanalyst, would have been 100 on March 8. I still give her book, The Magic Years, to new parents as it remains, even after nearly 60 years, a rich and thoughtful exploration of the inner lives of infants and young children. Based in a deep understanding of child development rooted in psychoanalytic theory, Fraiberg, always empathic with the experience of parents, uncovers the meaning of early childhood behavior and offers parents a framework for civilizing their children in healthy and nourishing ways. Fraiberg is also remembered for her seminal article, “Ghosts in the Nursery,” which has been … Continue reading Selma Fraiberg, born March 8, 1918