The recent (and perhaps transient) popularity of “The Secret,” the almost “underground” self-help DVD that has become the latest rage of “Oprah” and “Ellen” in recent weeks, has been the topic of water-cooler conversations all over the country and certainly in therapist’s offices like mine.
As a psychotherapist working with gay men in West Hollywood, body image and fitness issues come up more often than if I were practicing with another population in a different place. Our culture “suggests” – some would say vehemently “demands” – high levels of fitness in part for our health but largely for our looks. … Read more
After recently shifting my focus after 10 years of working with non-profit HIV and mental health social service organizations, I’ve been reflecting on both the positive – and negative – things that I witnessed. With the re-election of President Bush and a Republican majority in Congress, social services and other “liberal” institutions are certainly out of favor and have come under fire as a low priority for the American public and taxpayers.
The recent annual telecast by cable network TBS of the classic 1939 MGM film, “The Wizard of Oz” marks an annual ritual for me that dates back to when I was four. Watching this wonderful work of Hollywood magic each year gives me a chance to revisit its dazzling color, charm, and beauty like visiting an old friend. It also gives me a chance to contemplate its universal, timeless themes that coincide with the characters’ deepest desires:
Part of my initial assessment as a psychotherapist for gay men examines their current financial security, goals, fears, risks, and rewards. Our finances contribute to how we perceive our external environment, and they affect mood, feelings, behavior, and relationships. Since starting in practice as a gay men’s specialist therapist in 1992, I have observed certain “true-isms” about guys who have it together financially – regardless of their income bracket. What is the connection between good financial habits and coping with depression and anxiety? Here are some time-honored tips:
What does the re-election of President George W. Bush mean for the mental health of people living with HIV/AIDS? That’s a complicated question.
In considering the combination of gay men, sex, and crystal meth, a number of considerations come to mind for mental health professionals and researchers. For the first part, discussing gay men and sex, care must be taken to avoid generalizations, just as care would be taken to demonstrate cultural competency and absence of prejudice in discussing any subgroup of the general population. Why is it that gay men (excuse me, “men who have sex with men”) are still subject to a certain scientific, distancing condescension that is widely recognized as off-limits (rightfully so) for any other American minority?
The release of the latest installment of “The Exorcist” film franchise, “Exorcist: The Beginning” is another variation of the now classic theme of exorcising an invasive supernatural demon who has taken possession of an innocent young person – in the original film, a young girl, in the latest installment, a young boy. What is it about this story that fascinates us so much that Hollywood re-tells it every few years? Perhaps it is the classic battle of good versus evil, or perhaps it resonates within us the age-old mythologic struggle for us to identify and drive out the most nefarious aspects of our own personality. For many, the struggle with their own personal “demon within” is that of anger.
For the previous article to this, click here for Express Yourself, Part I
Last month, I related a story of a recent study from Dr. Kevin J. Petrie at the University of Auckland (New Zealand) of how 37 people living with HIV were studied in two groups: one group who expressively wrote about their feelings for 30 minutes a day on 4 consecutive days, and a comparison group who wrote objectively about how they occupied their time.
A friend of mine recently was telling me about an article he read about a study where people living with HIV who were shy – socially, emotionally reserved – had significantly worse overall health than people who were not shy. This story seemed to underscore the old adage about how “it’s not good for you … Read more