Sometimes Worse is Better

June 3, 2021

Sometimes, instead of coming up with something better, we need to come up with something worse.

Dr. Torpor, United States Postal Service!

May 5, 2021

Self as Observer According to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

April 21, 2021

man in front of his mirror in shadow white background

Self as Observer.  Where on the continuum best describes you?

“The person I call me is my thoughts and feelings about myself” on one end of the continuum.

“The person I call me knows what I am thinking and feeling but is distinct from that process” is at the other end of the continuum.

We move back and forth on this continuum throughout the moment, hour, day, week, month, year, decade, and lifetime.

This is just one example of the joy and challenge of being human.

From the “Self as Observer” scale from the “Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Advisor” instrument copyrighted by David Chandry.

The Self and Taking Sides

April 6, 2021

If you are going to take sides against yourself, make sure you deserve it.

Cognitive Fusion

April 4, 2021

If you are convinced that things are bad you are likely to perceive things as bad as you believe they are.  Cognitive fusion is a concept from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  It is similar to ideas of “self-fulfilling prophecy” and “perception is reality.”

One way to undo cognitive fusion is through an openness to questioning how you view things.  Try to step back and watch how you behave and respond in situations.  Be open to evidence that may disconfirm what you usually tend to believe is the case.  Consider alternate explanations.


A Dimension of Well-Being

March 31, 2021

One dimension of psychological well-being is autonomy.  This means a type of independence and self-determination where you are not manipulated by the social pressures of conformity.  This means an ability to think for yourself and do things that are right for you, not all the “shoulds” and “oughts” that we are told to do.  For example, someone high in autonomy is able to resist the social pressure to have a new or “nice” car.  Instead, they might have an old car that meets their transportation needs in order to make money available for the things that are most important to them.  With high autonomy one is their own source of values that guide their actions instead of external forces.  Your own personal standards are your compass.

With low autonomy one is motivated by the fear of what others will think.  Consequently, one automatically seeks to follow the “rules” that are most prevalent, whether or not they fit oneself.  A fear of being judged negatively by others is a strong motivator with low autonomy.  This results in thinking and behaving in ways that are dictated by current social pressures.  For example, if one watches a lot of television they may come to believe one needs to have a certain type of physical attractiveness to have worth as a person.  Not only may they pursue changing their appearance but also feel ashamed or embarrassed by their own natural looks.


The Curse of the Green Thumb

March 29, 2021

Although originating as a side-effect of the coronavirus sheltering-in-place, the recently renewed interest in potted plants is likely to continue.

What Does Mentalizing Mean?

March 16, 2021

Mentalizing is a skill with two parts.  One part is the ability to see yourself from the outside.  This means accurately recognizing how others may see you in an interaction.  The other part is the capacity to see others from the inside.  This means to have a good sense of why someone is acting the way they do in an interaction.  For example, if you are able to accurately figure out that a person may be feeling defensive for whatever reason, then you are in a much better position to help the discussion move in a positive direction with good feelings.  Developing a strong mentalizing skill is a life long project.  We have to be willing to recognize when we are wrong and learn from our mistakes.   Just like a sport, it takes a lot of deliberate work to get good at mentalizing.

Dr. Torpor on the Docket in Virtual Court

March 5, 2021

Whenever I go to court something weird happens.

Being Present for Someone

February 22, 2021

While talking with another person, if you can have
– compassion
– allowing
– spaciousness
– openness
– acceptance
– patience
– gentleness
You will be creating an environment where both you and the other person can relax, feel valued, and be truly as you are in that moment.