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Since meeting Frank Clayton, I have been taught to recognize the things in my life that needed to be addressed. How to feel the emotions that I never let myself feel. And most importantly, how to cope with all the people, “some loved, most not even liked” in my life.
With the guidance and support, I’ve received from Frank Clayton. I’ve learned to appreciate the consequences of my action’s. (Before they become a detriment to my own well being).
Ms. Becky E.
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Positive Psychology giant, Dan Gilbert advises in his book, Stumbling On Happiness, that when when one is unsure of what to choose, one should call for reinforcements; advice from others! There are SO many amazing lectures to attend at the upcoming International Positive Psychology Association’s 3rd World Congress, I’m not sure which ones to pick! So, I am inviting YOU to look over the schedule and make your suggestions. Of course if I go to the lecture you suggest, I will be talking about it at the upcoming Cutting Edge of Happiness talk (Saturday, July 8th, 9am to 1pm – click here for more info). Just look over the program in these following three pictures and leave your comments below – or you can also E-mail me at email@example.com
Thanks for all your help!
Frank Clayton, the Happy Therapist
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I am thankful that I have a wide range of emotions that help me to know myself better. I am grateful that I can express those emotions in a way that enriches my life and allows me to have empathy for others.
Frank~The Happy Therapist
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Wow! What an absolutely amazing day! In case you’re just “tuning in”, today is day 3 of the 2nd Congress of the International Positive Psychology Association.
Here are the highlights:
- Barbara Fredrickson (author of my #2 pick on Happiness, Positivity) talked about Love
- Meeting Todd Kashdan and (what may be his last) talk at IPPA
- Possible collaboration with positive psychologist and local, Lynn Johnson
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with a Positive Spin
- Positive Computing
- Meeting Jane McGonigal and using her on-line game to enhance Happiness 101
- How much you think you can do something effects whether (and how hard) you try *
- The use of strengths in therapy – the intermediate lesson *
- Gala and the National Constitution Center *
* I will report on these tomorrow.
It was much cooler today. A blessing for my walk to my third download of information in the realm of positive psychology, a.k.a. Happiness! As I walked through City Hall in (literally) the heart of Philadelphia, I hummed a little tune. I was distracted by the richness and variety of the people as I walked. Per haps distracted enough by the suits, the homeless, the street venders, the skaters and the provocative dress, the song’s lyrics did not bubble to the surface until in the shadow of the Downtown Marriott. I murmured, “All you need is love. Bump-ba bump-ba bump. All you need is love. Bump-ba bump-ba bump. All you need is love, love – love is all you need.” As I realized I was humming a Beatles standard, I also realized that the topic of Barbara Fredrickson’s talk was “Love: A new lens on the science of thriving” Continue reading Report from IPPA Conference, Day 3
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Once upon a time, I worked at a residential treatment center (RTC) for teens. When parents reached a point where they did not know what to do with their child and felt that their kid was in danger of hurting themselves or others (through a variety of means) – in other words they were at their wit’s end – they would send them to such a facility. It was here that I saw first hand what a fundamental shift can happen when one focuses on the positive rather than the negative. At this RTC there were four different houses. One of the houses was struggling significantly. The staff were burned out and there was a great deal of acting out behavior by the youth. A nurse there said she could feel the negative vibe emanating from the house. Something had to be done. The powers that be decided to rotate the staff so that the teens had a fresh new team to work with. Before day one, the staff huddled and decided that they were going to do two things: enforce the rules and accentuate the positive. In other words they were going to focus on what was RIGHT instead of what was wrong. Three days later, the aforementioned nurse said when she walked into the house, she knew a significant change had occurred. The students were more than just compliant they were happy, courteous and kind to one another. They did their chores with little complaint and began complimenting one another as staff had done to them. Not surprisingly, the staff was happier too. From this movement sprouted the Positive Difference Program. When staff saw students going above and beyond, they gave them a Positive Difference card, describing how they had made a positive difference. Attached was a ticket that allowed them to participate in a drawing for prizes at the end of the week. Though initially cards were only given from staff to students, it was not long before students wanted to give them to each other. It went so far that students wanted to give them back to staff and to their parents. As you may imagine that within a month’s time, the house had gone from one with a bad reputation to being the house everyone (staff and students alike) wanted to be.
This idea was started by one person. One person that decided to focus not on what was wrong, but what was right; to compliment rather than criticize. It radiated out and changed their focus. It changed their entire way of thinking and permanently changed lives.
What do YOU focus on? What impact do you make? Because whether you realize it or not, you already impact others. Is it a positive one or a negative one (or something in between)?
YOU can make a positive difference – in your immediate family, your extended family, your work, your friends your church and beyond – even strangers on the street.
Be aware. Decide. Act.
Licensed Professional Counselor
P.S. Attached is a short movie by Kurt Kuenne showing how one person can make a big difference
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Grief is tough. Two of the toughest parts of grief is feeling alone and not knowing how to grieve. In our fast-paced world, we are given very little time to work through our grief. This can leave us feeling like we “should be over it by now”. There are a lot of right ways to grieve. The only real way to do it “wrong” is to attempt to avoid it. Ironically and sadly, this prolongs the process. I have worked with many people recently who are struggling with unresolved grief. Specifically grief over the death of a loved one that occurred over a year ago and they are having difficulty getting past it. This unresolved grief obviously thwarts efforts to be happy.
To alleviate feelings of isolated, lonely grief and to help educate mourners on the process of grief, I offer the Unresolved Grief Group. Most of the work done in regards to grief occurs outside of the therapeutic arena. Therefore, this group will be offered once a month, to give mourners an opportunity to do the work needed between groups.
This will be a closed group. This means that once the group has begun, newcomers will not be allowed into the group. Those who attend are making a commitment to show up each month for 12 months. Group members must be screened by me to determine whether the person is appropriate and a good fit for the group. Such a consultation will be 10-15 minutes in length and that consultation will be free of charge. The cost of the group will be $25 for each group which is expected to last approximately one and half hours. The group will be held at my office (220 East 3900 South #7) on the first Wednesday of each month. To set up a consultation or if you have any questions, please E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-476-6338 for recorded information
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Sleep deprivation can definitely impede on your Happiness. In his book The Promise of Sleep (Dell, 2000), professor William Dement of Stanford University School of Medicine states that if American’s got just one more hour of sleep each night our “sleep sick” society would be much healthier and happier (Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness).
If you have difficulty sleeping, I prescribe some of the techniques we use in Happiness 101:
* Be mindful -of what you are doing or not doing that may be contributing to poor sleep
* Recognize what you have control over and what you do not. For example, staying up to watch Dave or Jay are within your control. What time the sun rises is not in your control.
* Make a plan. For instance, “I will turn off the T.V. at 10pm”.
* Implement the plan. “Do, or do not” and take full responsibility for that decision.
To help you recognize some of the little things you may unwittingly be doing to undermine your ZZZ’s, I direct you to sleep hygiene. There is much out there written on the subject. You have but to look. Please take care of yourself. Sleep and feel happier.
~Frank Clayton, LPC
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Oxymoronic, isn’t it? Grief never feels good but there are good ways to grieve. This implies that if there are good ways to grieve, there are bad ways to grieve as well. The best way I can explain it is the band-aid analogy. You can do it the fast painful way or you can drag the pain out – possibly for years. While taking off the band-aid has two speeds – fast or slow – the speed of grief is more like slow or slower. Many have hoped that after two or three of those gut-wrenching sobbing sessions that they are all done, they’re over it. In her book, The Worst Loss, Barbara Rosof states that typically grieving lasts for weeks if not months depending on many things – particularly the strength of the relationship. No one wants to grieve. No one wants to feel that pain. Many people go to great extremes to avoid feeling their pain, immersing themselves in drugs, alcohol, work or an endless stream of projects. There is no way around it. The only way through it is to feel your feelings and allow yourself to heal. This is not to imply you will “get over it”. Grief is about learning to live with the loss. Aside from feeling your feelings, Rosof recommends two other critical points: your grief is unique and has its own timeline. Comparing your grief to others will probably only serve to make matters worse. The final point is to get support. Ironically, many people tend to isolate when they need to reach out the most. Caring Connections offers a grief support group. The Sharing Place offers support as well, not only to adults but specialize in helping children to grieve. If you are grieving, please reach out for help.
~Frank Clayton, LPC
Please pray for Haiti
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I ask you to ask yourself, “What IS “Mental Illness” anyway?” Depression has been called the “common cold” of mental illness. Statistically you have a better chance of experiencing depression at some point in your life than not. Yet depressed people still hide their Prozac due to the stigma of mental illness. But if every body’s got it, why does the stigma remain? Answer: BECAUSE we continue to hide it. If everyone “came out” about depression, we would likely be relieved to discover we are not only not alone but that the minority is the people who have NOT been depressed. So the various levels of depression have been outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) – does that mean anyone diagnosed with depression is “mentally ill”? There are plenty of diagnosis in the DSM-IV that would hardly seem so including Nicotine Dependence, Caffeine-Induced Anxiety Disorder and Primary Insomnia – to name just a few. Most people could be diagnosed with some thing at any given time. So where is the line of “mental illness”? Careful how you answer. If your answer indicates it’s all-or-nothing you might have a case of “stinkin’ thinkin’” and be diagnosed with Cognitive Disorder (not otherwise specified). Or if you don’t answer all, you might be diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder or perhaps a communication disorder (depending on your body language).
This tongue-in-cheek discussion about mental illness is offered to hopefully get you to think about and answer the question for yourself. The most important distinction comes from inside of you. Or – am I just “crazy”?
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I would like to clear up a potential misunderstanding about “all this happiness stuff”. Yes, I am teaching Happiness 101 weekly. Yes, I am a mental health therapist specializing in Happiness. We definately strive to be Happy but you were born with a wide range of emotions, including sadness and anger. There are times when these emotions are very appropriate and should be felt. For instance, if someone just died and you were smiling broadly brushing it off as “just a part of life”, this would be a concern. There are expected “stages” of grief – sadness and anger to name a couple. So, trying to rush through the process to hurry up and be Happy may actually be counter-productive to your overall mental health. I’m not suggesting you wallow in it. Some professionals (myself included) recommend setting aside some time each day to feel your feelings or at least check in with yourself to make sure you are feeling what you are really feeling. So, yes, please do paint with the color of Happiness but my hope is that you won’t categorically dismiss all other feelings as negative – they have their place too.