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Learning the Relaxation Response Meditation 

Herbert Benson was a cardiologist interested in demystifying meditation. It was clear that engaging in the practice of meditation results in many healthy benefits including physiological (e.g. reduced blood pressure and resting pulse rate), mental (e.g. lower stress levels and increased well being), and behavioral (e.g. reduced consumption of addictive substances) outcomes. However, it was unclear exactly what components of meditation were essential to produce these results; was it the style of breathing, posture, nature of the “mantra,” etc.? Real important questions because I’ve found that most people have a pre-conceived idea that meditation is “too hard to do.” If so many challenging aspects were proven to be necessary, than those feelings are valid obstacles that preclude the use of this tool for many people. Luckily, Benson found that there were only two factors that were required for maximal efficacy. Here’s what he essentially says is all you need to meditate and produce what he calls the “Relaxation Response:” Continue reading →


Are the Pleasures of Alcohol All in Your Head? 

Interesting blog that presents a study examining how expectancies influence the way alcohol is actually experienced: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leah-odze-epstein/women-and-alcohol_b_1496470.html. Continue reading →


Abstinence Violation Effect 

This ominous sounding term from the relapse prevention literature is perhaps one of the most useful concepts to understand in addiction treatment. I often have clients tell me years after our last therapy session that this was the singular most helpful idea to keep them on track! So what’s it all about – and how can it help you? Continue reading →


Do Eye Movements Really Matter in EMDR? 

There has been large acceptance that EMDR is an efficacious tool for addressing PTSD. However, the actual mechanism and key elements that produce change are not as well understood. Continue reading →