Wednesday, October 25, 2017

New Meditation Class

I'll be teaching a mindfulness meditation class at Mama's Wellness Joint (11th and Pine in Philadelphia) on Tuesday evenings in November.  For information or to sign-up, click on this link:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our Fear of Silence

The cultivation of mindfulness requires periods of focused attention.  Many proponents of mindfulness maintain that this is best developed through seated, silent meditation.  So, while I’d like to investigate how to focus the attention, we must first consider our relationship with silence.

Whether in the center of a city or deep in a forest, the cacophony of sounds around us makes it apparent that true silence is impossible.  Composer John Cage wrote music that included long periods of silence.  When the musicians stopped playing, concertgoers were quickly confronted with the shuffling, shifting, and coughing sounds in the concert hall.  So what is silence?  I like to think of it as the absence of intentional sound.  Intentional sounds are the things we turn on such as TVs and iPods, the words spoken or heard in a conversation we are engaged in, music we make such as humming or tapping, and the noise of tools, keyboards, or other objects we are interacting with.  Sounds that remain are unavoidable.  So silence is when we are purposefully quiet.  For many of us, this can be unsettling.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Calling Donald Trump Crazy is an Insult to Those with Mental Illness

I've had an op-ed piece published on PsychCentral that concerns the impact on the stigma against those with mental illness that can result from the political actions of mental health professionals.  The group in question is called Duty to Warn and has collected a large number of signatures on a petition calling for the ouster of the president.  As the editors of PsychCentral note, there is some debate over who has actually signed this petition.  John Gartner, PhD, the organizer of Duty to Warn, maintains that the signatories are people practicing in the field of mental health.  A look at the petition on Duty to Warn's website reveals that, although the form asks for credentials, ultimately, anyone can sign it.

Despite the debated number of doctors and therapists on the petition, the fact remains that by taking the position that, "acting like that he must be crazy; so he has to go," when commenting on a person with no assessed diagnosis can only set back the efforts of people who are diagnosed and seek to do well in their jobs.

Please have a look at the article and let me know what you think.  You can find it here:

Pathologizing the President

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Be in Touch

If you'd like to contact me with comments, suggestions, or just to reach out, find me at:

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fighting the Stigma of Mental Illness and Violence by Stepping Up

It’s impossible to write a blog about mental illness without confronting the violence that has descended on this country all too often.  Too many innocent victims have fallen at the hands of too many offenders to set the issue aside.  My heart bleeds for the victims lost and the loved ones remaining.  Nothing written can take away the pain of the survivors.  But a call to action may help to prevent such crimes from continuing.