Not Happy? Maybe It’s Your Culture

Another fascinating documentary, “Happy,” entered my consciousness yesterday. It talks about what makes for happiness. Some of you may be familiar with the concept of “flow” — if not, the movie is an excellent primer. But beyond flow, the film also provides research about how little social status and money (above a certain basic minimum for health and safety) really have to do with happiness. Parts that were particularly intriguing were the descriptions of Co-housing in Denmark, and how people there report record high levels of happiness and contentment. Co-housing exists in America, but not at all to the degree it does in Denmark. It might be an interesting model for Americans to allow into their field of vision, now that we have suffered a massive economic downturn and many people have lost their homes to foreclosure. Maybe we could even try a co-housing development with the bond money that will be on the Rhode Island ballot this November.

Originally posted on Therapy with Kiersten Marek, LICSW:

I wrote the following letter at the prompting of Stop it Now, a great organization that advocates for public education and action to prevent sexual abuse.  As a clinician who works with sexual abuse, it has been both horrifying and all too familiar to hear the testimony that has come out of this trial.  It seems clear that Sandusky’s actions were very pre-meditated and involved finding victims who would be less likely to speak out, such as the boys from The Second Mile.   This should be a wake-up call for all of us to be more vigilant and attentive to children, and to find ways to ask questions when things don’t seem right.  I was glad when the email came from Stop it Now, providing some samples of letters to send to the editors, and so this is mine.  I hope the Providence Journal publishes it.

Dear Editors,

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Know Thyself: A Kid’s Guide to the Archetypes by Kiersten Marek now Available for Purchase

I am proud to say that my book is now available for purchase! Also, there will never be a better time to buy the book — with a 10% discount on the list price, and an additional 20% off through the month of June by using Lulu.com promotional code JUNEBOOKS12. Here is a link to the purchase page on Lulu.com:

Know Thyself: A Kid's Guide to the Archetypes by Kiersten Marek (Paperback) – Lulu.

Image from Know Thyself, a Kid's Guide to the Archetypes
The Destroyer can take many forms, one of which is destroying other people’s special things out of anger, jealousy, or feelings of worthlessness.

I wrote this book because as I have practiced therapy with children and families over many years, I have found that talking about archetypes and having a visual tool to use when doing so is an excellent way to start meaningful therapy conversations. I also saw that the archetypes model was less stigmatizing than talking in diagnostic terms.

I wanted to create a visual tool that could help kids articulate their experience, and that they could make their own and recreate in their own special way. That is why “Know Thyself” is a workbook and can also be used as a coloring book — it is meant to be a co-creation between child and therapist, or child and parent, or child and teacher, or child and other child — a way to feel bonded to others and on the same team as we find our resources, both internal and external.

Please take a look at the book in preview of “Know Thyself” and consider making it your own.

Originally posted on Therapy with Kiersten Marek, LICSW:

I am currently in the final stages of revisions for my first ever therapy book, “Know Thyself: A Kid’s Guide to the Archetypes.” If you would like to receive a free PDF of the book, please send me an email at kiersten.marek@gmail.com. This offer is only good until the book is officially published, so contact me today to take advantage of this special offer.

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Children born in December 48% More Likely to be Medicated for ADHD

I worry about the overdiagnosis of ADHD, particularly for children (mainly boys) who are younger than most of their peers in the classroom.  This video helps me realize I am worrying for a good reason.  The video cites a study showing that children born in December (the youngest in their class) were 48% more likely to be put on medication for ADHD.

The Warrior in All of Us

Oh, the warriors within us!  Longfellow said it eloquently:  “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s  suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” Indeed.  And yet, we do find many things to argue about.  Usually it’s not so much about the subject as it is about someone being on your turf.

As parents we spend a certain amount of energy interacting with our warrior children — hopefully this is only a small part of your relationship, but sometimes it can go on for too long, and it might be worth further exploring your internal warrior — the part of you that engages quickly in conflict, the part that escalates even as you know it isn’t good, not right or healthy or even sane.

Same holds true for marriages.  Hopefully you are not spending the majority of your time interacting with your partner’s warrior, but we’ve all been there, and when it gets really ugly, it’s no fun.  John Gottman talks about the four horsemen of the relationship apocalypse and one of them is “contempt.”  When the conflict gets to the point that you genuinely begin to feel contempt for your partner, it’s time to get help.

I enjoy helping clients explore the parts of them that get in the way of harmonious relationships, the parts that bring more conflict into their lives than they need or want. Sometimes what lies beneath the fightin’ mad part of us is a very interesting part — a creator or a fool or an innocent — who wants to enjoy life or work at something more important.  But with the warrior always being in conflict, these other archetypes don’t get the time and attention that they deserve.

(cross-posted from my private practice site.)

 

New Roots Grant Opportunities for Non-Profits

New Roots Providence sent over a press release about some new grants available for non-profits in Rhode Island.


New Roots Providence Announces Funding Opportunity:

Organization to Provide Capacity Building Grants for Nonprofit Organizations Focused on Workforce Development or Access to Federal or State Benefits

Today, New Roots Providence announced the release of its 2011 Request for Proposals, for Capacity Building grants for organizations or collaborations carrying out Workforce Development or those helping, or preparing to help Rhode Islanders with Access to Federal or State Benefits. New Roots Providence provides grants, technical assistance, and training to Rhode Island nonprofits and community and faith-based organizations to help improve the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders. Information about the program is available at www.newrootsprovidence.org.

New Roots Director Marti Rosenberg stated, “New Roots’ 2011 Grant Program is part of the Strengthening Communities Fund – a project funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars aimed at sparking economic recovery. Therefore, eligible Rhode Island nonprofits must have a meaningful workforce development program in existence now, and/or must be providing, or plan to provide Rhode Islanders with assistance in increasing their income or accessing federal benefits.”

These workforce development or access to benefits programs should focus on helping low-income individuals secure and retain employment, earn higher wages, obtain better-quality jobs, and gain greater access to state and Federal benefits or tax credits, including Recovery Act benefits. Examples of such programs are adult education institutions, workforce training organizations, or faith-based or community groups that assist people in applying for benefits like food stamps or RIte Care.

Rosenberg continued, “New Roots funds capacity building for non-profit organizations. That means that we help organizations become stronger in areas such as Leadership or Organization Development, Revenue Development, or Technology.” New Roots does not fund general operating or program costs.

Community organizations and faith-based organizations which have secular programs and which serve or work with people living anywhere in Rhode Island are encouraged to apply.

New Roots will be holding Information Sessions throughout January where organizations can learn more about the grant program’s other requirements. See the New Roots website for more information and for Information Sessions dates and locations (www.newrootsprovidence.org).

This past year, New Roots provided funding for technical equipment for the Rhode Island Center for Law and Public Policy (riclapp.org), and being that I am RICLAPP’s treasurer, I am particularly grateful for their assistance.