October 2005

Down To Earth Newsletter
Volume 4 – Issue 10 – October, 2005

Human Betterment Awards –
Drs. Daniel Caruso and Kevin Foster of the Maricopa Center Burn Unit and Beckie Miller, Director of Parents of Murdered Children will be honored on October 30th at the 21st Annual Roots & Wings Inc. Statewide Event: “Butterflies are Free – Celebrating Courage”  Come see Jon & Dr. Marlo Archer conduct the live auction of items contributed by Arroyo Robles resort in Sedona; Krystal International Hotel on the Water in Puerto Vallarta,  Mexico; MacArthur Place Historic Inn and Spa in Sonoma, CA and many others.  Tickets are still available from Valerie Chapman Gale at 480-488-9292. 
For more about Roots & Wings, go to http://www.hometown.aol.com/rwvcg/.

Debunking Myths – It is impossible to recover from some things

: Recently, a friend and I were discussing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and she asked, “How do you really ever recover from something like that?”  
Fact: Some people believe that there’s no way someone could ever recover from such devastation, but it is possible and many people do.

Just about anyone can recover from just about any sort of trauma the world can dish out.  It’s just not easy, that’s all.  You have to be willing to go through the pain, not avoid it by taking chemicals or by pretending it didn’t happen or by trying to magically ‘un-do’ whatever it was.  You have to be willing to let yourself be confused and angry and sad repeatedly over what might be an extended period of time.  At some point, it may be appropriate to acknowledge any fault you might have had in the incident yourself, but only so you can forgive yourself and move on, not so you can wallow in guilt and shame.

Finally, the end result is NOT that things go “back to normal.”  Things will be different.  They can never be the same as they were before the thing happened, but if you go bravely through the grieving process, you can come out the other side better than you were before, rather than worse.  You probably won’t ever really be happy that the event happened to you, but you may be surprised that you can actually feel gratitude for tragedies that take you to higher levels of personal development.  By active grieving and recovery, you transform the event into something helpful and beneficial, rather than letting the event transform you into something broken and hopeless.

September Discussion Question:  What do you think is the cause of the ending of most relationships?

We got two very insightful answers this month, both from Wisconsin readers.

>From Laura L:
Like the body needs food, so does a relationship. It needs to be fed to grow strong. Stop feeding it and it will wilt away.

And from Anna K:
I think most problems occur in relationships due to misunderstandings and not enough communication which I think causes a lot of relationships to end.

Awesome Contributions, Thanks!  Your special Down To Earth prizes are on their way!

October Discussion Question:  If your house was on fire and all the people and pets were safe, and there was time to get one object, what would you retrieve and why?

E-mail answers to:  discussion@drmarlo.com and answers will appear next month.  Your state of residence, your first name and last initial will be used unless you tell us not to use them.  Anyone who responds and also includes a mailing address will receive Down To Earth temporary tattoos until supplies are exhausted.

Thought For The Day:  The worst of all lies are the ones we tell ourselves.

FEATURED ARTICLE – Sane & Happy Holidays

Dare I utter the “H” word, “Holidays?”  For some, the mere mention of the word causes them to pale and nearly go into convulsions.  For them, the Holiday season is not something to look forward to, but rather, to dread, avoid, or endure.  Some people just go into survival mode and plod like zombies through the Holiday activities, holding their breath and praying for January 2nd.  If you don’t want to flinch at every black cat, wince at the sight of cranberry sauce, cringe at every caroler, or gag when you smell champagne, follow these tips for sane and happy holidays.

1) Ask yourself why you even celebrate each particular holiday and focus on the reason behind each.  When I work with children, I often ask them what each of the holidays mean to them.  Routinely, I am told that Halloween is for getting lots of candy, Thanksgiving is boring, Christmas is for presents, and New Years is for moms and dads to fight.  Great.  That always does a little bit to destroy my faith in mankind when I get answers like that.  Now, the saddest thing is that when you ask the parents the same questions, you often get the same answers or answers that indicate what a great deal of work needs to be done.  Folks talk of having to get costumes ready for Trick-or-Treat, or throw Halloween parties.  They speak of having to tolerate obnoxious relatives at Thanksgiving or eat someone’s really bad cooking.  They bemoan their financial condition at Christmas, and they look forward to New Years Eve as a time to get rip-roarin’ drunk and try to forget the previous 3 months.  Well, no wonder Holidays are a drag.  When you lose sight of why you even celebrate those special days, they lose their magic.  If you can’t quite remember why you celebrate, take some time now and do some research and find out.  Ask your parents or grandparents or other wise leaders.  Use internet to discover the origins of holidays you celebrate, and get yourself back in touch with the real reasons these days are honored in the first place.

2) Ask yourself for whom you are exerting all the effort.
  When you are extending yourself for a religious, humanitarian, patriotic, or family ideal, your efforts will be more rewarding.  When you are doing things out of a sense of obligation, fearfulness, guilt, or shame, the traditions lose their sparkle.  If you’re only cooking to try to convince your battle-ax of a mother-in-law that you actually are good enough for her son, then chances are, you won’t really enjoy the wonderful food you’re making.  If you’re maxing out credit cards to try to outshine your ex-spouse when it comes to what you’ve bought for your child, the kid’s joy gets quite lost in the negotiations.  If you’re spending hours upon hours decorating the house while your children sit bored and lonely in front of the television, you may do well to ask yourself who you are really doing all of this for and why.  When you aren’t doing the work for someone or something that you really love or believe in, the work becomes painful and traumatic and your holidays will be sour.

3) Do not lose sight of how simple children’s expectations really are.  Every year there is some toy that becomes the “must-buy” item.  Parents go wild running all over town, playing tug-of-war with the last item on the shelf, or mail-ordering knock-offs from Taiwan, trying to get the perfect present for their children.  Of course, the child will be happy on that very morning, but the happiness will lose it’s potency if it follows on the heels of the parent being irritable for the previous 3 weeks, trying to get this gift.  It will also ruin the fun if the next month is spent lamenting how broke the family is after all the holiday spending.  Children enjoy toys and they express interest in popular items, but what they will most remember is the quality of the time you spent with them, both before and after the holidays.  They will enjoy any game better if you play it with them frequently.  Toys do not have to be high-tech with lots of bells and whistles if you will get down on the floor with them and make funny noises while you play with the toy together.  We often really lose track of what is important to children – our time and attention, not our money or our expensive gifts.

4) Slow Down.
  This is a simple suggestion that people find it almost impossible to follow at times.  When you get to feeling stressed and overwhelmed and overworked and underappreciated, just slow down.  Go back through the first 3 tips and try to determine if you’ve simply lost sight of what’s important.  If you’re being distracted by things that are irrelevant, unimportant, and frivolous, let them go.  Your letter carrier will continue to deliver the mail whether you find a pair of sunglasses or mittens that perfectly match the blue of the uniform.  If you want to express your appreciation for your letter carrier, leave a handwritten note of thanks for them in July or March.  Not every bit of celebration must be done in three months.  Sit down, breathe, think, and then decide what things you can and should let go of, then let go.

5) Enjoy Everything, in Moderation.
  The Holidays give us the chance to enjoy foods, friends, beverages, and activities we may not take the time to enjoy during the rest of the year.  There is no harm in trying a little bit of everything, but we get ourselves into trouble when we try to have lots of everything.  Lots of Grandma’s pie, handfuls of Mother’s cookies, glass after glass of spirits, hour upon hour of visiting, miles of driving, and hundreds of gifts, toys, or decorations.  Each of those things are lovely, but in proper portions.  When we do any of it to excess, it will make us sick, tired, fat, crabby, and even dangerous.  That’s no way to enjoy the Holidays.  Sample it all, but in tiny portions, and then you can really rejoice in the wonder of each and every aspect of your celebrations.

The Psychology Session – Internet Radio Show
Host Devin Jones and Dr. Marlo were interviewed for the December, 2005 issue of the APA Monitor about this show that broadcasts live every Monday from 11:30a-12:30p at www.drmarlo.com/radio.  We welcome suggestions for topics or guests we should have on the show.  You can also advertise your psych-friendly business on our show for $5 per 15-second spot (e.g., no ads for alcohol, topless bars, gun shops, etc.)  E-mail suggestions or inquiries to PsychologySession@drmarlo.com.

Dr. Marlo’s Movie Madness – Entertainment & Education – Join us on the Third Thursday of each month for a free movie with a mental health theme.  Interested parties can stay after the movie for a discussion about the movie.  One credit informal CE awarded for a $10 fee.  Upcoming Features:  October 20 – A Day Without A Mexican, November 10 (NOTE: Second Thursday) – I Heart Huckabees, December 15 – K-Pax, January 19 – Monster, February 9 (NOTE: Second Thursday) – King of Hearts.  Networking at 7:15pm, Movie at 7:30pm, Discussion until 10:00pm.  Sign up for Movie Madness updates by sending a blank e-mail with ‘subscribe’ in the subject line to MovieMadness@drmarlo.com


Not sure if face-to-face therapy is for you?  Don’t have time to drive across town to appointments?  Just have a quick question or two?  E-Therapy is for you!  Dr. Marlo provides e-mail consultation and phone sessions.  Go to www.drmarlo.com/EasyPay.html to select a 30 or 60-minute phone or live chat session or e-mail consultations.  Perfect for people outside of Arizona, people too busy to come into the office, or people who want to investigate therapy a little bit before coming in for face-to-face sessions.  Give it a try!

Publish Your Work – Promote your PracticeTwo ways to publish – for free as a semi-anonymous author (your state of residence, your first name and last initial will be used), or, for $10, as a professional promoting a mental health practice (your full name, with credentials, address, phone number, and e-mail address will be included).  We reserve the right to decline to publish any submissions.  Send creative contributions to:  articles@drmarlo.com.

How did I get on this Mailing List?This mailing list started with all of my family and friends and colleagues, about 5 years ago.  Since then, I have added just about any e-mail address I come across as well as people who request to join the mailing list.  If you do not want to be on this list, you can unsubscribe by clicking the unsubscribe link below.  I continue to subscribe people upon receiving their e-mail addresses because I get positive feedback for doing so from many of those I subscribe.   My apologies if you are not one of them.

Please join me in congratulating my Lovely Husband, Jon, who was awarded the 2005 Arizona Psychological Association’s Friend of Psychology at their Annual Convention earlier this month.  –Marlo J. Archer, Ph.D.

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