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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The Controversial Placebo Effect of Antidepressants

The article linked below captures many facets of the complicated beast known as psychiatry under the influence of corporate pressure from Big Pharma.  In particular what struck me were the descriptions of how colleagues of Irving Kirsch, whose research exposes that antidepressants on the whole are no more effective than placebo, have been ostracized and dressed down for supporting him.

I could go on for days with shop talk about how as a therapist I approach my clients and their use of pharmaceuticals for mood stabilization.  My overall philosophy is to tread cautiously in those waters, and to support patient education and self-leadership.  I help clients do what they want to do after they have educated themselves as best they can about all of the relevant issues.

Anyway, for those who can stand to have the curtain pulled aside and to look directly at this beast of an issue:  Why Antidepressants Are No Better Than Placebos.

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.)

 

Ehrenreich Argues for Better Thinking, Not Positive Thinking

I will definitely need to read Barbara Ehrenreich’s newest book. Not only is she one of my favorite political writers, but now she is delving into cultural criticism related to the mental health field’s relentless pursuit of “positive thinking.”

Newsweek’s Julia Baird provides a short review:

[...] In her new book, Bright-Sided: How Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, Barbara Ehrenreich calls positive thinking a “mass delusion.” She argues that an unrelenting drive to train our brains to overlook problems and blame ourselves for failures has blinded us to inequality, incompetence, and stupidity.

The philosophy of positive thinking, she argues, developed both as a reaction to the negativity of Calvinism and a salve for the sick and anxious, but has, over time, been turned into a kind of blind optimism. At the heart of positive thinking is a belief that you can will anything you like into happening: recovering from cancer, getting a promotion, becoming a millionaire. Often, the worse things are, the more vehemently people are encouraged to be sunny. The more companies downsized and restructured in the ’80s and ’90s, the more popular affirmation-chanting, team-building consultants became. And all the while, as the country’s wealth shot up, the gap between rich and poor ballooned.

Myths About Marriage and The Need to Talk

This headline in MSN jumped out at me — “How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About it” — because I recently talked with a couple about needing to talk to each other less. That’s right — to make their relationship work better, talk less. The corollary for their situation was: do more. Talk less, do more. Show your love in other ways — by being on time, by following through on promised projects, by nourishing each other with good food.

It looks like Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, the co-authors who wrote the new self-help marriage shocker, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, have some compelling research to present about how men and women differ in communication patterns. From MSN:

[...] According to Stosny’s analysis of several hundred human and animal studies, male and female responses to stress are distinct from birth. “When a baby girl hears a loud noise or gets anxious, she wants to make eye contact with someone, but a baby boy will react to the same sound by looking around, in a fight-or-flight response,” he says. What’s more, while newborn girls are much more easily frightened, boys have five times as many “startle” reactions, which are emotionally neutral but pump up adrenaline. Boys need to intermittently withdraw into themselves to keep from becoming overstimulated. These differences hold true for most social animals and correlate with our biological roles: The female’s fear response is an early warning system that serves to detect threats and alert the males of the pack to danger.

As girls grow, they go beyond needing eye contact and refine a coping strategy identified by UCLA psychologists as “tend and befriend.” If there’s a conflict, girls and women want to talk about it. Boys and men, however, need to pull away. A man’s greatest suffering, Stosny says, comes from the shame he feels when he doesn’t measure up—which is why discussing relationship problems (i.e., what he’s doing wrong) offers about as much comfort as sleeping on a bed of nails.

Similar to Stosny and Love’s approach is the idea of the diversity of ways to express love described in The Five Love Languages. For many couples, there is a much greater need for showing their partner that they care about the relationship by attending to the children, or doing chores, or being on top of finances — by what Gary Chapman calls “Acts of Service.” For others, gifts and quality time are more important, and still others are primarily concerned with physical touch. Finding out which of the love languages is primary for you and your partner can help you reflect and build a better relationship. And sometimes what you might learn is that you want to talk less.

Cross-posted at my private practice site, kierstenmarek.com