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Health coach NYC

Health Coaching and Finding a Health Coach in NYC: Everything You Need to Know

Losing weight, eating “right,” going to the gym, etc. can all be done by many of us “perfectly,” or pretty well- but for a short time.  Learning how to maintain a healthy lifestyle when there are curve balls or even big stressors, is the challenge.  That’s where learning effective techniques to problem solve, manage your stress, and relate differently or change your emotions can help.  And that’s the work that can be done with an effective health coach.

Contact me here if you have any question about Health Coaching or click to call in mobile 212-551-1184

Why do you need health coach?

90% of people gain back the weight they lose within 12 months of a “successful” weight loss.

Have you ever tried to lose weight?  Gain muscle?  Improve your fitness level?

Have you succeeded before?

Did the changes last?

Many people successfully lose weight and many people increase the amount of lean muscle they have, and enhance their fitness levels.  Fortunately and unfortunately that is the easier part.

The more difficult part is maintaining the weight loss, keeping that muscle and fitness level up for the long-term.

There are a multitude of diets, supplements, strategies, experts, etc. that can help you lose weight, gain muscle, and if you’re also exercising, increase your muscle mass and improve your fitness.

But most of the time these are short-term fixes.

This is where a professional with expertise in the areas of nutrition, exercise, weight loss, and behavior change can help.  You might select a health coach, dietitian, exercise physiologist, or personal trainer.

Contact me here if you have any question about Health Coaching or click to call in mobile 212-551-1184

How can a health coach help you?

As a health coach, my goal is to help you reach your goals as efficiently as possible.  There are a few times when that might be as fast as possible.  I’ve been willing to help clients drop weight quickly for an upcoming surgery since the anesthesiologist thought that would make the surgery safer, or for an important event like a wedding or work performance.  But, to be clear my standard approach is to emphasize achieving the goals efficiently, and in an effective way.

Reaching a goal, only to lose the progress months later is a huge waste.  You may be back where you started, e.g., the same weight; or even backslide further and weigh more than when you started.  And in either case you will have wasted time, money, energy, and likely be experiencing stress.

Effectively reaching your goals with me, means we want the skills and strategies to enable you to maintain your achievements and continue to make progress. I emphasize giving you the tools, so you can do the work on your own, and make them habits, part of an overall lifestyle change, so that your new behaviors and goals will be with you for years to come.

Contact me here if you have any question about Health Coaching or click to call in mobile 212-551-1184

What does a health coach do?

My health coaching will help you to develop and maintain motivation, set realistic goals rooted in your values, which we will clarify, develop self-assessment skills to better understand the role your emotions, stress, situations, relationships, and other factors play in affecting your behaviors and decision making.

I will give you concrete skills, do exercises to improve your habits, review scientifically based techniques, engage in discussions and act as a sounding board to help you reach your goals, solve problems that come in along the way, to improve your satisfaction with your life.

Contact me here if you have any question about Health Coaching or click to call in mobile 212-551-1184

What type of health coaches can you get in NYC?

New York City health coaches are as diverse as NYC’s restaurants.  While health coach certification exists, it isn’t required, and health coaches are not professionally licensed by New York State.

That means anyone can call him or herself a health coach.  So health coaches can base their approach on any theories, philosophies, or scientifically sound practices they want.  Many may have an educational background that might make sense given the needs of health coaching clients.

There are health coaches who are certified health coaches, psychologists, personal trainers, dietitians, yoga instructors, or others who have health care related educational backgrounds.  There are also people who have just been interested in the field of health, weight loss, lifestyle change and have educated themselves.

For good or for bad, there are many different kinds of health coaches in New York City to choose from.  Regardless of your goals, you want to be sure the person is going to be reliable, professional, and a good personality fit for you.  Your specific health coaching goals should match the health coach’s capacities, education, certifications, training, and experience.

I highly recommend learn about his or her certifications, education, training experiences, positions held, and the kinds of health coaching clients he or she has had.  There are many health coaches who don’t have advanced degrees in health related fields that are effective.  In fact, they may be a better fit for you than someone who has numerous graduate degrees.

The important thing is that you speak directly with them about if they are a certified health coach, what that certification covered in terms of the kinds of issues addressed, and if they aren’t certified what education or experience equips them to effectively coach.

Contact me here if you have any question about Health Coaching or click to call in mobile 212-551-1184

What to look for in a health coach

As I mentioned, in terms of finding the right health coach for you, you want to be sure there is expertise that matches your health goals.

While your health coaching goals may change or grow during your time in coaching, you will likely layout your goals with the health coach during your first meeting.  And that is when you can ask questions to be sure you have an idea of how your health coach is prepared to help you achieve those goals.  What certification, training, research, etc. contain the techniques, information, and models that your health coaching work will be based on?

The other factor that is critical to successfully reaching your goals with a health coach is a goodness of fit.  What I mean by this is that you genuinely like working with the person.

That doesn’t mean the work will always be pleasant or easy.  It does mean that especially when the work is challenging or the information is difficult to understand that you are glad you are working with this health coach.  You want to be sure the coach is as patient, warm, funny, intelligent, knowledgeable, etc. as you would like.  Overall communication and even things like rate of speech are important.

If you don’t want to talk to this person, if you don’t trust this person knows what he or she is talking about, or is motivated to go and find out what you need when you need it, or communicate it to you in a way you can understand, you won’t get very far- no matter how experienced the coach is.

And I’ll say again, that even things like sense of humor can be really important.  This isn’t an improv class, but believe me, in my work, if we can’t laugh (a lot), it is going to make the frustrations harder to work through.

Contact me here if you have any question about Health Coaching or click to call in mobile 212-551-1184

Advantages of Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Health Coaching

My health coaching is rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Theory and Behavioral Theory.  That means aside from setting goals in areas like eating (nutrition), exercise, weight, sleep, strength, fitness, etc., we work to help you better understand the interplay between stressors, thoughts, feelings, relationships, and your behaviors and habits.

I will have you do exercises, learn techniques you can use on your own, introduce you to theories and models to help you make better decisions, engage in healthy behaviors even when you’re stressed or tempted, refrain from self-defeating behaviors, and build long lasting good habits that will become your new lifestyle.

Contact me here if you have any question about Health Coaching or click to call in mobile 212-551-1184

Health coaching and nutrition

I worked in a weight loss program in an obesity research center for years.  We ran weight loss groups and I saw (and still see) many clients individually.  It was almost unheard of for these clients to not lose huge amounts of weight very quickly once the dietitian started making nutritional recommendations.

What was also rare though was someone continuing on that trajectory indefinitely without running into the real issues that make maintaining weight loss so difficult.

Knowing what and how much to eat isn’t the biggest hurdle for most people, it is dealing with emotions, relationships, and situations that trigger overeating.  That is where the behavioral and cognitive behavioral work comes in and where cognitive behavioral health coaching can help.

Contact me here if you have any question about Health Coaching or click to call in mobile 212-551-1184

Health coaching and wellness

Health coaching is all about wellness, i.e., not eliminating disease, rather going after optimal health.  So many diseases that limit our ability to enjoy our lives are preventable.  Plenty are not, but so many are tied to our lifestyle.  The choices we make day in and day out related to our eating, exercise, relationships, recreation, relaxation, and sleep have significant impacts on our vitality.

Effective health coaching can help you maintain the healthy habits you have, identify areas for growth, and give you the skills and motivation to develop healthy habits to optimize your satisfaction and vitality.

Health coaching and behavior change

How many times have you lost weight?  For many of us, it is too many times to count.  Unfortunately, as one of my college professors exclaimed, he didn’t usually lose weight, he just misplaced it, only to find it a little later.  And that is the trend most of us in the field hear from our clients when they come in for the first time.  This isn’t the first time they have tried to lose weight, but they want it to be the last time they have to lose weight.

Many of my clients are professionals—and I don’t mean their vocations.  I mean most of them are more knowledgeable weight loss professionals than my colleagues with PhD’s.  I’m not exaggerating.  They can calculate their own basal metabolic rates and know how many calories are in a gram of alcohol.  But knowledge is not enough.  And unfortunately, typically, “will power” coupled with that knowledge is enough to lose a lot of weight, but it isn’t sufficient to keep the weight off.

Maintaining the weight loss, continuing the vigorous exercise regimen, or staying on the structured nutrition plan for years requires something more than just an understanding of what to do and will power.  For my clients it is through a careful assessment of what causes and maintains those behaviors that we are able to develop the skills that lead to long lasting lifestyle changes.  We establish behavioral patterns (habits) and come up with plans to deal with mistakes and relapses.

When I work with health coaching clients, I intend for the changes to help them for the long-term.  That is where an emphasis and expertise in behavior change is valuable.

Contact me here if you have any question about Health Coaching or click to call in mobile 212-551-1184

Health coaching for diabetes

Diabetes is a serious medical issue that is treated by medical professionals.  If you have diabetes or are at risk it is a very good idea to work closely with your primary care physician and possibly a specialist as well, e.g., endocrinologist, certified diabetes educator (CDE).

There are many lifestyle changes that can be helpful to people at risk for developing diabetes or who already have been diagnosed with it.  But it is critical to be under the care of a physician.  Hopefully the physician will provide you with a lot of information about the condition and make lifestyle recommendations to complement any medications that could be prescribed.

These are often nutritional and exercise recommendations.  This is where a conversation with your medical professional could include health coaching.

You can discuss if your doctor thinks a health coach could help you stick to your new nutrition and exercise plan.  If so, you want to get a specific plan from your physician that you can bring to your health coach.  Then your health coach can help you build and maintain motivation, manage your stress, and find solutions to barriers to sticking to your plans.  Through this process you can make these changes part of your new lifestyle.  Your physician and health coach can collaborate to become part of your team to support you as you become more and more self reliant.

How to find a health coach in nyc?

New York City has the advantage of having so many health coaches to choose from.  Did I mention that New York City has the disadvantage of having so many health coaches to choose from?

This is where I encourage you to be a researcher.  First, ask professionals you know and trust if they know of any health coaches with expertise related to your health coaching goals.  That could include your primary care physician, endocrinologist, personal trainer, chiropractor, acupuncturist, dietitian, or psychologist.

You can also ask friends and family members if they have ever had a successful experience with a health coach or know someone who has that you could contact to find out more.  If those two groups of people don’t have any names for you to review, or even if they do, you can certainly do a review on the internet and collect a few more names based on what you see in their bios, approach, experience, etc.

Once you have a list of names and you have reviewed their certifications, education, training experiences, approach, etc. it could be time to schedule an initial consultation call or meeting.

During this time I encourage you to ask the questions that will reassure you that this will be a good fit.  I recommend that you prepare a written list of questions in advance.  It is just too easy to forget or get sidetracked from the questions you want to ask during an initial session.  You may end up being absorbed in what you are sharing about your past, excited about your future, or even captivated by what the health coach is saying.  All of these experiences may be very good signs this could be a good fit, but they could also distract you from getting your “must have” questions answered.  So, hope the initial meeting will be absorbing, exciting, and captivating—and take your list of questions too.

Contact me here if you have any question about Health Coaching or click to call in mobile 212-551-1184

How much does a health coach cost?

Health coaching in New York City can be very expensive.  Rates can vary from $50-$400 an hour.  Health coaching may be provided in person, but is frequently done by phone or remote video.

Before you call to make an appointment it is a good idea to decide what kind of rate you think you can afford.  The last thing I ever want is my clients to become stressed by the financial commitment.  You want to be sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Remember there is a big range of prices, so you may be better off trying one at a lower rate rather than starting with someone (even, or especially if you find it to be effective) you can’t afford, only to have to discontinue after 8 weeks and start over, or taking a break until you can save enough money to begin again.

Contact me here if you have any question about Health Coaching or click to call in mobile 212-551-1184

Is health coaching covered by insurance?

Health coaching at this point is not covered by any insurance plans of which I’m aware.  It is possible that this will change at some point as many medical professionals are beginning to see the benefits to health coaching.  As that becomes a more popular perspective, insurers may determine it is financially beneficial to them to pay for health coaching since it may prevent later more expensive reliance on medical care for the treatment of disease and disorders.  Health care costs related to lifestyle, e.g., sleep, nutrition, and exercise, make up a large portion of all costs.

Contact me here if you have any question about Health Coaching or click to call in mobile 212-551-1184

Porn Addiction Help NYC

Porn Misuse in NYC: How to Get Help

Does everyone look at pornography on-line. No, not everyone, but the majority of men admit to it, and a lot of women admit to it as well.

Based on the surveys, as many as 3.5 million New York City residents look at porn on-line and close to 700,000 people in Manhattan alone. Now not everyone that looks at porn regularly has a problem.

But, if you find yourself spending hours, and find it difficult to stop, you are not alone. Based on one study, it is likely that there are more than one million people in NYC that meet the criteria for problematic sexual compulsivity and watch porn on-line regularly.

Contact me if you have questions about Couples Therapy
Phone: 212-551-1184
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Diagnosing Porn Misuse

While you may not know what to call it, “Porn Misuse,” “Porn Compulsivity,” “an impulse control disorder,” “OCD attached to porn,” or something else, you know what it looks and feels like.

• Do you find yourself watching porn and trying to set a time limit that you push past?

• Or say “Only one more site,” and then end up going to another porn site, and another?

• Do you lose hours to on-line pornography that you wish you could get back?

• Do you feel empty?

• Do you feel guilt? Shame? Embarrassment?

• Has it made sex and intimacy less satisfying in the real world, less appealing?

• Have you had any difficulty performing sexually or getting as aroused?

• Are you afraid your partner may find out and judge, or even reject, or break it off with you, if what you’ve been watching was revealed?

• Have you put yourself at risk at work by viewing things on work computers or devices, or by not getting enough sleep, or getting your work done because of hours viewing pornography on-line?

While there is not yet an agreed upon label, i.e., porn misuse, or compulsive porn viewing, it is clear that it is difficult to stop, takes up many hours per week of time, and there is a lot of emotional suffering that goes along with it. There are certainly intense positive feelings at times, but there can also be plenty of lows, accompanied by guilt, shame, and embarrassment, and even self anger afterwards. You may even feel hopeless, since quitting has seemed so impossible.

Is Porn Misuse Bad for You?

For some New Yorkers, viewing porn may not have a negative impact on their relationships, sexual performance, emotional or psychological life, or career.

There are many people addicted to viewing porn on-line who may be wrecking their lives in various ways. Take the case of Greg. Greg’s use of porn started at home on his computer. While he manages to find a way to do it privately, his wife certainly has been impacted since he seems exhausted, distracted, and a lot less interested in initiating sex with her. He tells her he is doing work late on the computer, but something seems to be different to her. Lately he has been starting to use his phone to see porn as well. And he’s even slipped and used his work computer as well—that really scared him. Controlling this habit feels impossible. Now he’s worried he could get into trouble at work, not for being behind because he isn’t as productive since he’s missing sleep, but because he’s visited those sites on a work computer, while he’s on the clock. This is all feels out of control, scares him, and is making him feel anxious, embarrassed, ashamed, and angry at himself. All of these emotions can be overwhelming.

For many, the suffering can be intense, the time lost can be long, and the potential risks and costs to one’s family and career can be incredibly high. Whether or not there is scientific consensus on generalizing about pornography being good or bad, I think the most important question for you is, “Does the way you view pornography increase or decrease your quality of life?”

If your answer is that it decreases it, then who cares what the scientific community thinks the impact is overall on the population, and who cares if the psychiatric community hasn’t decided what to call it? You have something that is causing you to suffer and that is stealing satisfaction from your life. And, if you are like most people with this issue, it has been incredibly hard to get control of it on your own.

Porn Misuse Treatment in New York City

Treatment for porn misuse does exist. There have not been many controlled trials. On-line pornography hasn’t been around as long as alcohol or many drugs, so coupled with the lack of a diagnosis, many studies have not been done yet. But, on-line porn is more accessible than illicit drugs, and even easier to get than a beer—anyone with a smart phone can pull it up 24 hours a day, no matter where you are, you can get it, no dealer other than AT&T or Sprint needed.

Fortunately, there is hope. Specific techniques in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can work to help you suffer less. You can learn how to decrease the number of hours you spend watching porn on-line, decrease your guilt, shame, embarrassment, frustration, depression, and helplessness. Reduce the risks that you may get into trouble at work, a fight with your partner, and increase your satisfaction and performance in your sex life.

If you have questions about treatment for porn or sex misuse, or want to schedule an appointment, please call my office.

While we may not know what to call it, we know it hurts, and we know there is help.

couples therapy

Couples Therapy in NYC: What You Need To Know

Couples therapy can help you improve your relationship by teaching you how to effectively communicate, solve problems together, understand what your shared values and interests are and how to accept and make room for differences. Using scientifically supported techniques you can decrease conflict, resentment, and loneliness, while also cultivating intimacy, pleasure, excitement, and stability in your relationship. Improving your relationship satisfaction is something that takes work, but can often be done.

For more info and inquiries:

Who Benefits from Couples Therapy?

I see two kinds of relationships in couples therapy. Many come in because of dissatisfaction. But a second group are very healthy, but are hoping to enhance existing strengths or work on a few minor issues to have an incredible relationship.

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in NYC with fitness as a goal

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in NYC: What You Need To Know

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can help you lead a happier and more meaningful life. Scientific evidence also indicates it can decrease your symptoms of anxiety, depression, substance misuse, work burnout, and worksite stress. ACT is a behavior therapy that gives you tools to efficiently become more mindful, often times faster than a traditional meditation practice might. ACT is as much about action as it is about acceptance. While you become more accepting of your feelings and thoughts, you can also take action to move toward your goals in service of your values. This proactive approach helps you achieve your goals, live your values, and therefore give you more vitality, satisfaction, and meaning in your life.

Contact me if you have questions about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Phone: 212-551-1184
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What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy? Is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) an empirically supported treatment for any disorders?

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PTSD Veteran

PTSD and Veterans

Veterans risk their physical safety, and that is only the beginning. Many veterans exposed to combat suffer with behavioral health issues as a result of their service. The suffering can be intense. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may impact as many as 20% of Iraqi war veterans. While it may not seem possible, there is help. PTSD is one of the most intense and debilitating issues one can have, but there is very effective treatment that works very quickly and the results last.
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Anger Management

Top 3 Causes of Anger

I am Ryan Fuller. I am a clinical psychologist. I have done anger research and I treat a lot of angry clients in New York City. I’ll talk to you a little bit about the top causes of anger. So oftentimes when we’re talking about the causes of anger, we refer to them as anger triggers. And frequently, triggers are the external events, usually other people that, in fact, precede an anger episode.
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Anger Management

Anger Expression Styles

So there are a number of different anger theorists who have talked about different kinds of anger styles. But the one I’ll mention breaks anger styles into three forms of expression. So there is “anger out”; and “anger out” typically looks like the kinds of behavior we see with someone that we consider to have a temper. So they become very angry and then they are going to be doing things like yelling, they may be using profanity, they may smash cell phones or pound their fist on a desk, or something along those lines, destroy property.
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Anger Management

What is anger?

What is anger?

Anger is a negative feeling and when it comes in frequencies and intensities and durations that are in the normal range, it can be quite healthy. Unfortunately, when it becomes really intense or really frequent and it is paired with behaviors that are problematic that are aggressive or uncooperative, it can cause big problems and people can run into anger management issues.
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Anger Management and Aggression

Cold Anger

Anger and Aggression in the Harsh Winter

Anger management is important year round. I haven’t seen evidence that there has been more aggression or anger outbursts this year because of a harsh winter. But there are good reasons to suspect that could be the case as our nerves become frayed.

Hot temperatures are frequently thought of as putting us at risk for violence. But there is a great deal of scientific evidence that any environmental factor that makes us uncomfortable can lead to aggression. Certainly bitter cold temperatures can do just that.

Anger is often thought to precede aggression, and many times it does. But most of us do not realize that other emotions put us at risk for aggression too. There is ample scientific evidence that any negative emotion, e.g., anxiety, guilt, loneliness, etc. make the likelihood of aggression more likely. So a difficult winter that may lead to less social contact or make us more nervous because of driving conditions could certainly put us at risk for becoming aggressive.

Another predictor of aggression is frustration. In the social science literature frustration occurs when a goal is being blocked or a desired outcome is prevented from occurring. Big snowfalls can lead to just that. People are stuck in their homes or can’t get their cars out their driveways and are prevented from completing all kinds of goals. And it is easy to see how those situations can also lead to more and more negative emotions, putting us at greater risk of becoming aggressive.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

REBT-Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) was developed by Albert Ellis. Dr. Ellis  who was originally trained in psychoanalysis. After completing his doctoral work he began treating patients in New York City. He became frustrated by the limited progress his psychotherapy patients were making in psychoanalysis.

He then decided to turn to one of his earliest interests, philosophy. He went back and read Stoic philosophy as well as eastern philosophy. He based a new system of psychotherapy on much of this work. The hypothesis that made the most sense to him was that our emotional pain is not the product exclusively of the situation, but also our thinking about the situation, ourselves, life, and the future.

From this view of human emotion, he developed the ABC model, which is used by many Cognitive Behavior Therapists (CBT) today. In REBT, “A” stands for activating events. These are the situations, real or imagined, that trigger, or activate, our beliefs. “Bs” are these beliefs, which can be rational (or helpful) or irrational (unhelpful). Over the years the kinds and number of irrational beliefs he identified changed. The most refined version of REBT beliefs includes four core irrational beliefs and four alternative rational beliefs.

Irrational Beliefs

Demandingness (DEM)
Low frustration Tolerance (LFT)
Awfulizing (AWF)
Global Evaluations (Self-downing; SD)

Rational Beliefs

High Frustration Tolerance (HFT)
Badness rating
Unconditional Self-acceptance (USA) or Unconditional Other/Life Acceptance

REBT posits that the combination of activating events (As) and beliefs (Bs) produce consequences or the “Cs.” The situation (A) is interpreted and evaluated (B), which results in an emotional consequence (C). For example, if a student receives a failing grade on her exam (A), and she believes this proves it, “I’m a failure (B).” She might then feel depressed  (or depressed and anxious) (C). That particular consequence is an emotional consequence (Ce). When feeling that way, certain behaviors become more likely than others. When we are depressed, staying in bed may become more likely than going to the gym. These are behavioral consequences (Cb).

REBT therapists target behavior change largely by identifying the events, irrational beliefs, and then emotions that precede the behavior they want to change. The most common intervention is to dispute (D) the irrational beliefs, i.e., asking challenging questions to reduce the strength of the irrational belief. Then once the client no longer believes the irrational beliefs as strongly, an alternative rational belief can be selected to rehearse (E; effective new philosophy).  Changing the core irrational beliefs results in what he calls the “Elegant Solution.”

In this case, an REBT therapist may help the client, through disputation, to recognize that even though she may have failed one exam, it does not logically follow that she becomes a failure. It may take a great deal of effort on the part of the therapist and even more on the part of the client to get there. The hope is, she will eventually let go of the belief that she is a failure, and can rehearse and practice behaviors to support the rational alternative. The rational alternative to the global evaluation/self-downing (“I”m a failure”) belief would be unconditional self-acceptance (USA). If she can accept herself unconditionally, regardless of what grades she receives, she can be more emotionally stable. Without the thinking that “I’m a failure” could be looming, the client can become less anxious she will become depressed again. Now if she fails at something, she can practice unconditional self-acceptance, and tell herself, “even though I fail at things, I do not become a failure– I do not become what I do.” This new attitude can inoculate her against self-defeating thoughts that “dog” her. And this new accepting attitude can reduce or prevent feelings of depression or anxiety that she may become depressed again. Without the anxiety she may be able to concentrate more when studying, hopefully decreasing the possibility of failing future exams.

REBT therefore aims to change beliefs in order to reduce not only future negative emotions, thereby making adaptive behaviors, e.g., effective studying, more likely, but also intends to reduce failures. Since intense negative emotions often lead to poor judgement, impulsive actions, or unhealthy coping, e.g., procrastination, drinking, overeating, etc… REBT aims to improve behaviors and life circumstances over time, by first changing thinking and feelings. So while it is a cognitive model of psychotherapy, it by no means ignores improving behaviors and life circumstances. REBT simply believes the closest target to emotion is cognition, and changing that link alters for the better the entire chain reaction, resulting in better behaviors and eventually improved life circumstances.

REBT Self-help Form – CBT Worksheet

REBT References

A synopsis of rational-emotive behavior therapy (REBT); Fundamental and applied research. David, Daniel; Szentagotai, Aurora; Eva, Kallay; Macavei, Bianca
Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Vol 23(3), 2005, 175-221.

Casual Sex

Casual Sex’s Surprising Science

Science of Sex

Casual sex has been on the rise for decades. This has been concerning for many reasons.

But, did you know that 75% of casual sexual encounters may lead to a relationship?

Did you know that 45% of men hoped their last casual sex partner had turned into a steady relationship?

Or what about for those suffering from depression, casual sex may improve their mood (although for those with a healthy social life, they may feel worse)?

Ok- these are the positives, and there are clearly some negatives. Regret and shame are two emotional possibilities, and unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases are also serious risks.

But, this article by Pere Estupinyà sheds light on a side of casual sex that may have been overlooked. This is by no means an endorsement, only an example of how science can uncover aspects of a behavior we may not have previously understood.

In this case, more casual sex may not be a good thing. But it does seem evident the studies (and interview) he references indicate a few things in need of further investigation.

To start, it does sound as though many people are looking for steady relationships, even though they may engage in a “casual” encounter without that in mind.

Is this the healthiest and most effective strategy for initiating a long-term relationship? I believe most of us would assume the answer is no, but it is an empirical question. Perhaps it saves time.

Or perhaps there is a breakdown in our current socialization for us to understand what we really desire, e.g., a long-term relationship, and/or we don’t know how to communicate about that, so instead we end up in casual encounters. Perhaps developing greater self-awareness and effective communication skills could reduce casual encounters, while increasing the number of healthy long-term relationships if that is the goal.

In any event, we have a lot to learn (and I hope we do it quickly) about how changes in the media are impacting our sexual and relationship behaviors.