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On Being Respected

How does someone learn how to become a person people respect? Arguably, the best way to develop a deep understanding of this is through stories that depict characters that, as they mature, grow into individuals that have the set of characteristics that people highly respect.  In the Cool Steve Stories, a coming-of-age trilogy of a boy growing up in Brooklyn, I have attempted to provide…

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Bob Dylan on Madness

As some of you may know, Bob Dylan has a show called “Theme Time Radio Hour.” As the title suggests, each episode is centered on a theme. He begins his episode on madness as follows: “Let me ask you a few questions, friends. Are you disinterested in work or family life? Do you suffer from sleep disruption? Have you had significant changes in appetite? Have…

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A Conversation About Unsolicited Criticism

A while back, I published on this blog a post titled, “Unsolicited Criticism: Good or Bad?” Regular readers may recall that it begins as follows: “Judy, it’s so nice to see you,” I say as she comes into my office and sits down on my couch. “I’ve been reading your blog again, Dr Rubin.  It’s filled with a bunch of hogwash.” “Hmmm, it sounds like…

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From Psychiatric Name Calling to Plain, Humane English

Many mental health service providers well know that there are serious problems with the jargon that is used in their profession.  In a recent post titled “Psychiatric Name Calling: Is It Time To Put A Stop To It?” I outline some of the most glaring ones.  In a subsequent post titled “Psychiatric Name Calling: Is There An Alternative?” I describe a plan for professionals who have…

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William James’s Personal Bout with a “Mental Disorder”

William James, psychologist and philosopher, passed away over a century ago.  Nevertheless, his remarkable body of work remains as fresh as fruit plucked from its tree but moments ago. His views about his personal bout with a challenging experience developed over many years.  Today I think it will be instructive if we spent a little time reviewing what he learned. A Glimpse at James’s Early…

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Psychiatric Name Calling: Is There An Alternative?

The publishers of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) currently hold a monopoly for classifying the concerns that lead people to seek mental health services. Recently on this blog, in a series of articles, I have been pointing out numerous faults of the DSM.  To check out some examples of these, see my posts titled Name Calling by Psychiatrists: Is it Time…

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Are “Mental Illnesses” Really Potentially Helpful Tools?

If your behavior, thoughts, or feelings become a concern, for a fee, many psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers are eager to translate your experiences into a language of symptoms, diagnoses, psychopathology, and mental illness. In earlier posts I provided negative criticism about this type of name-calling from several different angles ((see here, here, here, here and here).  Today, we focus in on an additional problem…

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The Art and Abuse of Insults

Many of my posts leave some feeling like I insulted them.  In one post, for example, I took the position that when it comes to responding to criticism there are four levels of maturity.  Some people who respond to criticism in a way that matches the description of the immature levels let me know that they felt I had insulted them. In another post, I…

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Insults By Jews As Works Of Art

This summer I visited Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History.  Some of the floors were devoted to a single theme.  For example, there was a floor devoted to “Chasing Dreams,” which celebrated baseball and the many fans, players, and characters from minority groups who helped shape our American story.  And there was a floor devoted to Jews as immigrants coming to America. Each exhibit…

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To Listen, Or To Criticize?

In the above Sally Forth comic strip, we learn from Ted that Sally had a fight with her sister.  By the third panel, Ted begins to criticize Sally, saying she is coming off like a robot, and then he expresses his view that she had been kind of dismissive of her sister’s news about becoming engaged. In the last panel, I get the feeling that…

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