Articles

March 20

The Words in Your Story

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

Photo Credit Alexi Berry. Used with permission. Photo Credit Alexi Berry.Used with permission.

We’ve all heard about the power of words. Many have also probably heard something about how you can change your story, or how the story you tell shapes your life. In this post I hope to bring the power of both together, so one can make significant changes in his or her life, if she so chooses.

We have all likely said things that come back to haunt us, and demonstrate the power of words. Yet, do we really consider much of what we speak? Despite all of the quotes you might have heard regarding the …

Share this Post:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon

February 19

Security is an Illusion

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

Art work by Alexi Berry. Used with permission. Art work by Alexi Berry.Used with permission.

Recently the idea of security in life has arisen in several aspects of my life. I read Rick Hanson’s weekly newsletter, Just One Thing, the post titled, “See Deep Wants”. In it he suggests looking at the underlying wants that are driving you (and others). One of the underlying drives he gives as an example is security.

This has also arisen in some of the therapy sessions I’ve had of late. I’ve had several clients, who when faced with losing a parent who they have perceived as a security blanket, suddenly faces a lack of …

Share this Post:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon

January 19

Your True Colors Aren’t True

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

Photo Credit Alexi Berry. Used with permission. Photo Credit Alexi Berry. Used with permission.

This post is a follow up to last month’s, which discussed similarities between Buddhism and Existentialism. In that post, one of the commonalities is the belief of becoming, rather than being a finished product. In existential thought, existence, which refers to the ability to grow and change, is greater than essence, which refers to a finished product. In American culture, essence dominates what people think of personality. Most can relate to discussion of a person’s essence. When this is discussed, it refers to someone’s core. Sometimes another term, true colors, is used. However, in existential …

Share this Post:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon

December 19

Existentialism Meets Buddhism

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

A good portion of my writing focuses on Eastern practices such as mindfulness, and how they can improve one’s life. Another topic I focus on is existential philosophy and how beliefs derived from that school can also make life more fulfilling. In this post, I’d like to discuss similarities between the two.

I was struck recently by how the two philosophies, born of different worlds, came to many of the same conclusions. Existential philosophy is a Western idea, originating in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Buddhism is much older, said to have originated in the fifth century B.C.E. Despite their disparate origins and development, there are several striking similarities.

Being in the moment: Heidegger, a famous existential writer, wrote a …

Share this Post:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon

November 19

You Don’t Know What You Want

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

Photo Credit Alexi Berry Photo Credit Alexi Berry

If you read my work with even a cursory interest, you must know I make it my mission to convince people their minds cannot be trusted. In the past I’ve focused on biases, and how unconscious biases work to protect the ego by distorting objective reality. This post takes a slightly different approach, and instead focuses on evidence that people generally think they know what they want, but in practice do not.

About a year and a half ago I read a book about dating by Aziz Ansari. In the …

Share this Post:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon

October 19

There is No Point

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

It is doubtful that whether there is a point to life or not is a topic of conversation in the average American’s year. In mine, it seems to have been a theme. Some of the most memorable situations where it has arisen begins with an excellent book I read at the beginning of the year. It also comes up in lectures with students and in one of my favorite television programs. In these forums, the theme is there is no point.

In one part of the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson, he tells the story of losing a college friend and becoming despondent. He decides during that time that nothing matters; there is no point …

Share this Post:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon

September 19

Increasing Willpower and Resilience

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

There has been a lot of talk about resilience lately. From people weathering recent hurricanes to earthquakes and floods, news stories have focused on the resilience of those enduring. Psychology has also been interested in resiliency, studying what makes some succumb to disorders while others experiencing similar circumstances do not. Whether or not you are concerned about your mental well-being, just about everyone can benefit from enhancing resilience.

Resiliency and willpower are related. Though some research demonstrates there are external factors related to resiliency, the same can be said of willpower. Research demonstrates both resiliency and willpower are limited resources (Miller-Lewis, L., Searle, A., Sawyer, M., et.al, 2013, and Baumeister, R.F., Vohs, K., …

Share this Post:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon

August 23

Relationship Tides

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

relationhip_tides Photo Credit Alexi Berry

This post was co-written by Dr. Limor Ast, LMFT. It came out of a discussion we had about relationships, and the pattern of approach and then distancing, only to approach again. It combines two theoretical approaches to counseling.

This pattern of approach and distancing is common in relationships. There are “games” newly dating partners engage in. At times this results in one or the other, or perhaps both partners, coming closer and withdrawing to establish that one isn’t more interested than the other. In a video on Facebook posted by philosopher / television …

Share this Post:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon

July 23

You Aren’t You At All

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

you_arent_you Photo Credit Alexi Berry

A great deal of my writing focuses on how the human brain lies, and creates stories about who you are and why you do what you do. Psychology supports this. In fact, a new movement in psychology goes beyond that, and suggests there isn’t a centralized you at all.

This is not necessarily a new idea in psychology. Since before Freud, those in the field have looked at the power the unconscious exercises on an individual and his behavior. C.G. Jung went so far as to identify different archetypes that influence perception and …

Share this Post:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon

June 18

You Think You’re A Good Parent?

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Articles | No Comments

As a therapist, I hear both sides of the story: Adults who lament how their parents treated them, and parents who discuss the ingratitude of their children for all they have done for them. Clients discuss some the worst things their parents have done to them. A friend who was discussing her parents’ transgressions recently asked me the same: “what was the worst thing your parents did?” This made me think, “I wonder what my kids would say was worst thing I’ve done to them”. This post is about just that, but not about me. It is about the tough conversations you are avoiding, whatever side of the coin you are on.

I set about asking my kids, most of whom …

Share this Post:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • email
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon