Author Archive

Mind Matters — Vaccinated yet?

I am vaccinated against COVID-19, are you? This is not a question to shame anyone, but a question of curiosity. My husband and I are now fully vaccinated. In fact, both my adult children and my son-in-law are vaccinated as well. For the first time in over a year, we have dined outdoors at a restaurant with friends, who are also vaccinated. Yet I know family members ...

 
 

Mind Matters: Meandering thoughts

January 2021—Snow Fall I was at the kitchen sink looking out at the snow falling. A flash of memory comes. I remember when my cousin John, college friend Joanne, and I walked at night in a snowstorm — we trekked from my parents’ new home all the way past town to a bridge outcropping on the Delaware River, probably a part of the steel mill then. What I remember is the ...

 

Mind Matters: Reframing 2020

Reframing is a tool of psychotherapy, particularly family therapy, in which you help a person see their problematic situation in a new light. Sometimes, the change of one word or a phrase can shift the perspective. I remember a colleague discussing with another colleague his concern about getting older and working less — he called that his withering. The astute ...

 

Mind Matters: The I, the we, and the common good

The challenge of balancing the I and the We has been with us for thousands of years. The philosopher Plato grappled with it in terms of the “one” versus the “many.” Psychotherapists, with an eye to family dynamics, see the dance of the I and the We played out in the lives of their clients. There is little distance from the philosophical to the psychotherapeutic to ...

 

Mind Matters: Psychology in 2020

COVID-19 has transformed the lives of all of us, whether we are in denial of its lethality and contagion or not. The most recent American Psychological Association bulletin, Monitor on Psychology, also looks at how, not only COVID-19, but other events of 2020 have transformed psychology — and all of us. Ironic how the year 2020 has been quite the re-envisioning of ...

 

Mind Matters: COVID and kindness

My granddaughter has been asking me a lot of questions about the past lately. Now that this 4-and-a-half-year-old has been home with me rather than in daycare, we have a lot of time together. She loves to tell and draw stories, but she also wants to hear real-life stories about her mother as a child, and even about me, her grandmother as a child. If COVID time has ...

 

Mind Matters: Tips to sleep

Most of us would agree that these are very stressful times. However, how we respond to stress is up to us. One aspect of our lives that we need to attend to, in tense times, is our sleep. There is a two-way street between stress and sleep. While stress can negatively affect our sleep patterns, our sleep patterns themselves can exacerbate stress. The American ...

 

Mind Matters: Hope in COVID time

Americans across the political spectrum may be more in tune with each other than they realize. Even though measures taken to handle the spread of the Coronavirus have been politicized, a recent survey conducted by the Harris Poll for the American Psychological Association shows that there is consensus among Republicans and Democrats about prevention measures to ...

 

Mind Matters: A diary in COVID time

June 9, 2020 Last week we had an outing to a New England beach where the water was stinging cold. It was our first adventure into stationary social distancing — that is, sitting on a beach for hours with other people albeit a good distance away. It was almost a normal event with granddaughters playing in the sand and the water and with us enjoying a picnic. After our ...

 

Mind Matters: Reframing reality

Recently, one of my cousins died suddenly—not of Covid-19, but of a heart attack. In “normal” times, such an event would have had all the extended family gathering together out of the diaspora we have become. Instead, her family will mark her death privately until a later date. There will be no great convening of large families now. The rituals of life and death have ...

 

Mind Matters: Reflections in the time of COVID-19

Welcome to the new normal of social distancing. A month ago, it seemed surreal to be doing the six-feet apart dance and seeing no one, but it is becoming eerily status quo. My personal life has changed in that I am reaching back in time when I was the mother of two tiny tots living in the middle of nowhere Western Pennsylvania. Now I am the grandmother of two tiny ...