25 Dec 2010
And that in advanced countries the nadir (eg the peak of unhappiness) is 46 years old.
How does this sound?
It seems that as people grow older they start appreciating things they didn't before and being less sensitive to other issues.
"Enjoyment and happiness dip in middle age, then pick up; stress rises during the early 20s, then falls sharply; worry peaks in middle age, and falls sharply thereafter; anger declines throughout life; sadness rises slightly in middle age, and falls thereafter".
Listen also to what Dr. Laura Carstensen, professor of psychology at Stanford University,says:
"Because the old know they are closer to death (...) they grow better at living for the present. They come to focus on things that matter now—such as feelings—and less on long-term goals. When young people look at older people, they think how terrifying it must be to be nearing the end of your life. But older people know what matters most.”
The whole article is worth reading anyway. Go to: http://www.economist.com/node/17722567?Story_ID=17722567
8 Dec 2010
One of my favorite songs is called "Winter", by Tori Amos. I do like winter, but I notice not all do... Once I heard that the falling leaves were like falling hopes of sunny days... as the sun hides itself and there is rain and grey weather. Some take it as a good opportunity to a hot cup of coffee... And you? How do you see this beginning?
10 Oct 2010
I'm sure there are ponderous economic reasons. But one wonders about the culture that can make a 34 year-old live happily with mum and dad.
12 Sept 2010
The concept is quite intrigring.
I've always about it but this summer, after searching on the internet, I decided to make my own white noise instead of buying a device for that problem(you can order it online). I had a very upsetting noise coming from the street and managed to overcome it by turning on my air conditioning system in the most silent program. Fortunately it worked. But made me wonder about the lack of respect that people show each other and The total impunity that goes with it.
Sometimes we also have to create our personal white noise in psycogical terms. Some people really interfere with our nervous system and we have to be able to muffle their sounds with some protecting inner noise we may produce.
You know what I mean?
8 Sept 2010
28 Aug 2010
24 Aug 2010
Have a look at:
22 Aug 2010
The phenomenon is taking place in developed countries: kids live with their parents longer and longer, they sometimes leave home and come back later, get financially independent much later than they did twenty years ago, have kids later...
The reasons are multiple and some of those that the NYT enumerates make good sense. Interestingly, if you'll read the article you'll find that once upon a time adolescence was not considered a period of life. The notion seems to be quite recent (XX century).
Times change. For me, however, the most striking issue is not that our children seem never to grow up. I believe The process is part of a much wider one: the infantilization of our societies. We are becoming less and less responsible and accountable as persons. And most worrying, this process seems to come with more depressions and very little motivation for the things of life in general.
21 Aug 2010
The culprit, however, has a name: it's my beloved iPhone.
Yes, since I bought it (well, it was a present. And what a present!) I just let my laptop rest in the sitting room, connected to the LCD screen. I only use it for academic works that demand more capabilities , like PowerPoint or a special text application.
Before, I used to carry my MAC in a trolley. Now, I just put my iPhone in the purse or in my trouser pocket.
I do everything with it: read and write e-mails, tweet, have a look at the Facebook, take and edit photos and videos, listen to music, read books (Amazon kindle store now has an APP for that) and even write short short stories, which are my current passion.
One thing, however, I'm not able to do: put a picture from the net on a post.
Upon reflecting, I decided it was more important to go on writing, with or without photos.
I'll be back soon with a commentary on the so called "emerging adulthood", a period of life that's getting longer and longer.
8 Jul 2010
I read recently in a Portuguese newspaper that according to a poll, Portuguese young people pointed to 51 years as the age when you're "old".
It also said that this number is much less than in other European country.
Such a surprising perception of when you become old made me wonder.
Puzzling, to say the least.
After much thought I came to the conclusion that maybe the parents are accountable for this extraordinary idea. And what do I mean with this? It may well be that after listening to parents, uncles, aunts etc etc complaining that retirement takes too long to come, young people decided that after 50 what you want most is to go home and not work anymore.
This is an issue in this country. Most people don't like what they do and keep complaining about it. And why is it?
I wish I knew. Poor work ethics? Demotivation? Poor bosses? Poor edicational choices? Lack of professional choices?
25 Jun 2010
I have been to http://www.letgoletpeacecomein.org/ and was appalled at the intensity of the testimonies.
I also agree a therapist/counselor to a patient who has been in any way abused by an adult has a demanding job ahead him/her.
I wish some Portuguese people would also have the courage to tell their story as these people did in the site letgoletpeacecomein.
24 Jun 2010
Taking the chance on the topic currently in development in our blog by our Psychologist Dr. Ana Mesquita I realized I could go on talking about this other difficult topic wich is often ignored or taken apart since the pain and hardness of it...
I've been recently receiving some cases of children, teenagers and young adults as patients, who have been victims of this problem along their childhood and adolescence and that hard reality and it's devastating consequences on so many parts of these persons lifes has really impressed me and taken me to study and think of it in a more deeply way.
Reported incidents of child sexual abuse are markedly on the rise, but the number of unreported instances is far greater, because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened, and the legal procedure for validating an episode is difficult.
Child sexual abuse can take place within the family, by a parent, step-parent, sibling or other relative; or outside the home, for example, by a friend, neighbor, child care person, teacher, or stranger. Incest affects individuals and families regardless of class, income, profession, religion or race. The statistics are truly alarming. It is currently estimated that one-third of all children are sexually abused before the age of 18. This includes 40% of all females and 30% of all males. The vast majority of these reports involve very young children, below age seven.
No child is psychologically prepared to cope with repeated sexual stimulation. Even a two or three year old, who cannot know the sexual activity is wrong, will develop problems resulting from the inability to cope with the overstimulation.
The child of five or older who knows and cares for the abuser becomes trapped between affection or loyalty for the person, and the sense that the sexual activities are terribly wrong. If the child tries to break away from the sexual relationship, the abuser may threaten the child with violence or loss of love. When sexual abuse occurs within the family, the child may fear the anger, jealousy or shame of other family members, or be afraid the family will break up if the secret is told.
The problem should be identified, the abuse stopped, and the child should receive profesional help. The long-term emotional and psychological damage of sexual abuse can be devastating to the child.
Children who are neglected or sexually abused are known to have lower IQs and an increased risk of depression, suicide and drug problems. Abused children are 53% more likely to be arrested as juveniles, and 38% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime. During preschool years, abused children are more likely to get angry, refuse direction from teachers, and lack enthusiasm. By the time they reach grade school, they are more prone to being easily distracted, lacking in self-control, and not well-liked by peers.
A child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse usually develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and an abnormal or distorted view of sex. The child may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults, and can become suicidal.
Some children who have been sexually abused have difficulty relating to others except on sexual terms. Some sexually abused children become child abusers or prostitutes, or have other serious problems when they reach adulthood.
Often there are no obvious external signs of child sexual abuse. Some signs can only be detected on physical exam by a physician.
I'll be developing this issue in the next weeks....
22 Jun 2010
20 Jun 2010
Sexuality has been studied for centuries, the expression of that same sexuality has changed alongside with history itself, evolving in terms of meaning and liberty wise. In a long journey here morality, cultural habits and even science have a great part in the discussion and vision about the “do’s and don’ts” of Sexuality. For us to think today there is the notion of some researchers that sexual activity is very connected with our basic needs, and the sexual performance with our self-esteem. But sexuality in general is more than this, is the way one express himself as a man or a woman, with their desires, self image, the way to relate with others and many more complexities. What I propose in the next days is that we think about some of the questions that this topic raises.
14 Jun 2010
12 Jun 2010
9 Jun 2010
8 Jun 2010
7 Jun 2010
6 Jun 2010
People with OCD put very high standards for them and others, and usually don’t trust others to do things for them because they think they will not be as well done as it needs to. Difficulties expressing their feelings. Usually they develop relationships that are very superficial...
People with OCD have an extreme need for control, perfection, order, which makes them unable to be flexible, to adapt to situations and consequently they start to be inefficient. In work, it is difficult to finish a task because it is never “perfect”, and the persistence to do it again in order to achieve it frequently make them forget about the rest of their lives, family, friends. For fear of making mistakes they usually refuse to take decisions. They tend to be stubborn, and particularly rigid in their moral, ethics and values.
31 May 2010
Someone with a dependent personality disorder sometimes stay in relationships with people that abuse them physically or psychologically. They depend on family to know what to do, what job to have, where to go. And their depressiveness, anxiety and sometimes even eating disorders make it difficult for a partner to deal with. When a separation does occur they feel devastated and try to fill the void with another relation.
People with a dependent personality disorder have an excessive need to be taken care of, and for that they are very obedient trying to meet other people expectations - even if it means to do unpleasant tasks. They have difficulty making the smallest decision by themselves, and have a huge fear of separation from parents, spouses or even close friends. They don’t trust their own judgment, and because of that they are in need of constant help. They also have extreme feelings of inadequacy, helplessness, sadness and a really low self image.
21 May 2010
To most of us, this is just fantasy. Psychologists, psychotherapists and psychonalysts are somehow made to live other people's lives, if not only out of empathy, that capacity to iamgine what the other person is feeling or thinking.
There is another way of living other lives: reading.
Through books and descriptions we can live what our short lives would never allow.
Do read to your children, a few pages every evening. In time, they´ll want to know more and they'll acquire the habit of reading.
And read with them lots of fairy tales. Don't give in to the nasty modern way of thinking we must protect our chidren from frightful situations the books provide. They have to live those emotions mediated by reading.
There is a great book that explains wonderfully the importance of fairy tales in children's education: The Psychoanalysis of Fairy Tales, by Bruno Bettelheim.
18 May 2010
16 May 2010
For those who can read Portuguese I strongly recommend the interview Alexandre Castro Caldas, the neuroscientist, gave to one of our main newspapers. It can be read at:
10 May 2010
In a relationship they are very difficult to deal with because of the instability – they go from an apparent true love to true hate in a glance. And from victim to abuser. Most of the times the self-destruction makes the partner really guilty to leave, or the parent too scared to solve the situation. There is also a big fear of being abandoned, being in very intense but not necessarily good relationships, getting mad if frustrated in any way, but remaining really dependent of the partner, using all kinds of ways to prevent him/her to leave, even by hurting themselves which makes it very difficult.
One of the main characteristics of this disorder is the instability, in such a way that you have instability in the self-image, one day they think of themselves as great others as zero; they have instability in relationships, shift of moods, and they also tend to be impulsive. People with this disorder seem to have their emotions always in conflict with the world around, and turn out to be sometimes aggressive towards others and also to themselves. And one of the main characteristics is a deep feeling of emptiness. Many times they can engage in self destructive activities, as unprotected sex, drug and alcohol abuse and driving unsafely. One other aspect is their probability of hurting, cutting themselves, an aggressive way that is explained as a way to deal with that emptiness, and their identity issues.
9 May 2010
Most narcissistic see themselves as being great and for that want to be admired and to be the center of attention at all times. They have no ability to empathize with others, once this requires the ability to focus on the other instead of focusing on themselves. They tend to be arrogant with feelings of superiority, but can also be very charming at a first impression - though their relationships are usually short term because they cannot maintain them. They usually have this double standard with envy: many times they envy those around, and use them, but always believing that it is the other way around – others envy them because they are so great. When it comes to criticism or frustration they lack ability to deal with it and react with rage, humiliation, indifference or even pessimism.
For a wife/husband that is trying to share a life with such a person it can become unbearable, as everything is left for the other part to do - as for example house chores – because small and insignificant things are not for them to waste time, they are to superior for it! And one by one all is left for others to do, and without any comprehension of the unfairness and damage that it is causing to the partner. Many wife/husband portrayed their narcissistic partners as wanting a “mother/father” and a maid.
The search for the day and moment when the other will finally realize their value and that they are having too much on their laps can be too long and painful and probably that day never comes. And then we ask: what am I doing with such a person? But it is not easy. Sometimes in adolescents you also feel those characteristics, but most of the times it does not mean they have this personality disorder, it’s just a phase…
In a simplified way we call “personality” to the long-term pattern of predictable and consistent reactions. If we are “healthy” that pattern has a natural flexibility to adjust those reactions while learning with experiences, understanding that sometimes we shouldn’t react this or that way in specific contexts. But when this flexibility does not exist we can be facing a personality disorder. And there are a few of them. They usually are behaviors that are not socially expected in a certain context, and that repeat themselves over the years causing suffering for the one who has it and often to those around. Many times the person who has the personality disorder doesn’t realize and doesn’t recognize their rigid thinking and behavior, being very difficult to treat.
We all can recognize in ourselves some of the characteristics of those disorders, but it is only a disorder when very rigidly, and when it becomes distressful and maladaptatives. There are a few of them… paranoid, schizoid, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive… And there are also a few controversies about calling them disorders, about the distinction between them, once some share traits. But for us here what matters is to think a little bit about the behaviors and characteristics, other than to consider a “diagnosis”.
4 May 2010
3 May 2010
1 May 2010
When economy starts having serious problems people start moving around, trying to find a better life in different countries. They search for new opportunities, better jobs and better financial situation. However sometimes they find more of the same, and with the plus of having no family and friends’ support. Other times they really find what they were looking for. Either way it’s not easy to be in a country that we don’t know, where the way you express yourself can be perceived as something other than usual – as too aggressive, or too anti-social. Being in a different country implies that you get to know and understand the culture and the “how-to-do”, so you won’t put yourself in an awkward position… If you ever talked with a foreigner that came to your country you probably heard a lot of funny (hopefully!) stories. A Portuguese friend of mine discovered in between some laughs that “rubber” in USA does not mean “eraser” as in Portugal!... A Brazilian friend arrived in Portugal and found out that we have a pastry called “queque” but “queca”, a similar word, has a very different meaning… Well, those can be funny moments, but others can be quite embarrassing.
The more different from your culture is the new country you are in, the more difficult it can be. And time goes by, and maybe you have children in a different country, and soon you’ll find out those aspects of that new culture in them. And what about if you stay for 20 or 30 years in another country, and feel your heart divided… or if you find out you were 20 or 30 years in a country you dislike…?
There is so much we can say and write about this… I believe we could have here many different stories from those who read us. There are lot of people dealing with those same questions every day and who can understand what we are trying to say, and there are also professional ones that can support you during that transition and adaptation.
26 Apr 2010
This week I attended a conference on Career Counseling. One of the main focuses was to raise awareness to the fact that currently careers are in constant development, changes, and need of adapting and evolve. Career counseling is no longer limited to the high school choice, and no long limited by multiple choice exams. Any age is a good age to do some counseling in this area; as a matter of fact it should be done many times along our lives! Because life cannot be separated from career - if one is not happy with his/her career it’s difficult to be happy in life - as we spend 1/3 of our time (or even 2/3!) working. And, as it is my experience, doing career counseling can be a really enjoyable process of self-knowledge, talking and sharing goal’s, experiences, doubts, and individual characteristics with the therapist. I really enjoy doing career counseling!
21 Apr 2010
19 Apr 2010
But melancholia it's a very severe case of depression and can be a rather serious disease, sometimes leading to suicide.
The person has emotionally invested an object (usually a person but it can be also an ideal) and when the latter disappears or fails in any way the result can be catastrophic. The object is already part of the self of the individual, has taken its place in it (as Freud famously said: the shadow of the object fell upon the ego). Being very difficult to let go of the object, the person retreats into itself, indifferent to the rest of the world, not caring about anybody or anything. Apathy and self-recrimination, even self-hate, are a constant symptom.
The best known painting is Durer's Melancholia but I really think Edvard Munch's painting by the same title better represents this awful condition that can border psychosis. Have a look at both of them:
18 Apr 2010
Today I saw “The invention of lying” and found to be really interesting as it makes us think about a lot of things (more than this trailer suggests…), from the obvious truth vs.lie, until religion and morality. For me the first 15 minutes were the most interesting because we always found lying a bad thing, but this portrait of an “all truthful world” is surely not very inviting… I won’t tell more because I don’t want to ruin your movie view. But I leave you with a question: would we really want to hear the all truth all the time?
17 Apr 2010
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Robert Lee Frost
14 Apr 2010
12 Apr 2010
10 Apr 2010
9 Apr 2010
5 Apr 2010
There is something mysterious about quickly satisfying what seems at the moment a big need. We go out, we don’t know why but we see something, either clothes or shoes, or books, or technology, and we have to have it and have to have it now! In this instance we convince ourselves it’s a great need, or that it is the right moment to buy it, or that we shouldn’t but we deserve it… and for a moment we are glad, happy, in a good mood. But then we arrive home, and reality comes crashing, we shouldn’t have bought it, we don’t needed it, we didn’t think enough about it, we could use the money… and then, the happiness gives its place to remorse and a deeper sadness, more profound than the quick sense of happiness. And there is no way to explain that great sadness that suddenly arises from a wrong spending.
What happens is that probably that sadness was already there, it was the subtle voice inside that wanted so much to buy something, it was the voice of emptiness, asking to be “filled” with something. But usually, that emptiness is not solvable with material things… and builds up when confronted with that unfulfillment and frustration… and it’s sadness all over again.
Now with the rising economical crisis, it becomes more and more difficult to be able to spend money randomly – and the anxiety builds up. So finding the right solution to this problem becomes very important to those who suffer.
31 Mar 2010
Developmental psychology is a subfield within psychology which focuses on the study of age-based behavioral changes. Historically, the term has been used specifically to refer to the behavioral development of children, but developmental psychologists actually study people of all ages, looking at behavior from the womb until death. Researchers in this field can apply their skills to the treatment of children with psychological disorders, the analysis of psychological issues which pertain to criminal cases, education, elder care, and a number of other situations.
Researchers in this field primarily gather evidence through observation, with each study adding to the overall body of material in developmental psychology. Experimentation under controlled circumstances may be used by some researchers, but most focus on watching humans in natural environments and learning about the ways in which development can be influenced or altered. Since many experiments involving the manipulation of environment could involve unethical methods such as subjecting children to sensory deprivation or malnourishing infants to determine the role of diet in infant development, observation is often the only way to gather data.
Developmental psychologists are interested in the emotional, intellectual, and moral development of people throughout their lifespan, looking at everything from the age infants first respond to specific stimuli to the behavioral changes which occur in the elderly. Developmental psychology is also concerned with physical and social development, such as the age at which boys and girls start differentiating between each other, or the dynamics of middle aged adults. They also study humans in the womb, especially in the later phases of pregnancy when the fetus appears to be engaging in conscious actions.
The study of developmental psychology is critical to understanding how humans mature, and to identifying issues with human maturation. Developmental psychologists, for example, can set basic milestones which can be used to determine whether or not a child is developing normally. Lagging behind normal development or failing to meet development targets by a specific age can be an early sign that a child is experiencing problems which need to be addressed.
Research in developmental psychology can also be used to explore the developmental differences between different populations, and the reasons why some groups seem to develop more quickly than others. This research can be valuable when people are deciding how to allocate funding and which social and educational issues need the most attention, as developmental psychology has illustrated that people need sound developmental building blocks to grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults.
30 Mar 2010
A frien of mine sent me these two pictures of bunkers in Normandy. The previous ones I posted were not grafittized like these are. The shame remains the same - with decoration or not. Hitler had the bunkers built 70 years ago to prevent the landing by the Allies. He didn't succeed but millions died here and in many other places across the planet.
What we call Europe, EU, etc, is such a fragile construction. We have to be careful not to let it fall down. Think of that.
28 Mar 2010
22 Mar 2010
21 Mar 2010
It is our work as responsible and loving adults to be alert to their signals and help them understand their needs providing, if necessary, the specialized and technical help available in the society.
Many times we tend to rapidly criticize and think that this or that child has no manners, knows no rules and respects no one when so many times those are the only ways that small person has learned to express her or his difficulties and or emotional problems.
20 Mar 2010
(excerpt from the poem by Oscar Wilde)
Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.
Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves.
19 Mar 2010
15 Mar 2010
14 Mar 2010
Depression is about loss. Loss of someone or something, or the love of it, that makes you fear for another loss... and another...and another... for all your life.
It's as if you are encapsulated in time: better said, in the past. The present is unbearable, there's no future. This may be more than depression, it can be melancholia, a Greek word meaning black bile. The Greeks knew it had to do with humour and Aristotle thought it could help creativity. Great thinkers, poets and artists, he used to say, are usually prone to melancholia bouts.
Some say that melancholic people have an ideal within themselves so strong that their ego cannot ever reach that perfect model and keeps punishing itself.
The thing is: how can there be such a strong omnipotent and tyrannical ideal that makes you crawl whenever you feel you are not corresponding to its demands? Think about it and the extraordinary power you might have given to someone or something.
The photo is quite a depressing one. It's a bunker from WWII part of the so-called Atlantic Wall that the nazis built on the Atlantic shore. Many of these huge and ugly constructions can still be seen there. Paul Virilio published a book on them (http://www.infoamerica.org/teoria/virilio1.htm).
13 Mar 2010
I know Carnival was a few days ago, but in this sunny day I came across this fotos and couldn't help to stop for a minute and appreciate. Those are from the famous Brasilian Carnival, and I select those particular photos because I found them reveiling of a great emotion. Isn't it amazing how in a cultural event like this, tradition can bring such sense of belonging, such respect for representing a particular school, or a town...? Have you noticed the photo where one of the actrices is praying before entering the avenue...?
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