Ask Dr. J

Ask Dr. J

by Janan Broadbent, Ph.D

Friday, October 27, 2017

Comfort Zone? Ditch It!

If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever. – Thomas Aquinas

Think of times in your life when all was well – job, school, and love life, proceeding smoothly... For some, those are times when an almost-itch starts to develop. Seeking change, looking for some excitement. For others, a need to preserve this state, to savor the comfort and to stay in a homeostatic balance. There is no right or wrong in these approaches to life: We all have learned behaviors, personality styles, character, and preferred modes of behavior. What we do know is that innovation, improvement, or progress does not come out of the comfort zone. The human condition seeks that place of familiarity, and it is only when there is some disturbance, some out-of-whack factor, or even pain, that we act to change. I have worked with many couples that complain about the relationship, but will not make any changes in their behavior, and it is hard to remind them that perhaps the pain is not bad enough to overcome the resistance to change.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Elevating Debate in a Relationship

Whatever context you might imagine, it is hard to get away from the horrific after-effects of the Las Vegas massacre. This was not a crime of passion, or a bar brawl, or road rage. It was 100% premeditated, planned-in-cold-blood killing of human beings who were enjoying a musical performance. If you have read Scott Peck’s People of the Lie you may remember that the subtitle is: “The hope for healing human evil.” Although for this shooter the issue is moot, I cannot imagine just where you might even begin to address the evil pathology that must have existed there.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Nature’s Best Deed

Promoting Compassion

Harvey, Irma, Jose... As we’ve watched with awe, what Mother Nature can do, it’s also brought us face-to-face with the best traits of human beings. Frankly, in the last several months, I had started to question my basic belief in the positive and good nature of people. The divisiveness, the nasty and cruel comments on social media and elsewhere, even with people face-to-face with others in stores, became a huge obstacle to having faith in the human race. Granted, there were many factors adding fuel to that fire, but I kept wondering how any person could become so twisted. This from someone who has been working with people for the last 35 years...

Friday, September 01, 2017

No End to Injustice

Wow! I dare not even imagine what all may transpire by the time this article appears in print. But last night’s news dump – with the military transgender action, Sheriff Joe’s pardon, other political happenings, and the hurricane in Texas – may not have any rivals. How to keep one’s sanity and survive in these times? How do we, whether a minority member or not, deal with the anxiety over the vulnerability we feel for ourselves, our friends, and families? Some people choose to limit their exposure to all media, and that may work for them as long as one does not have anything to do with the consequences of these developments. For most of us, if not for ourselves, there is a person or a group we care about, that is affected by the new rules.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Mind Split

As I start to write, my mind goes back and forth between the unsettling atmosphere of right now and the comfort that presence of a partner and family brings. We are all dealing with the fallout from the travel ban, the transgender ban, climate denials, white supremacist meetings, and need I say more? It is the undoing of progress in all these areas that create yes, anxiety and depressive thoughts in most of us. Add to that the global reputation of the US, and it is hard not to want to dig a hole and crawl in it.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Silence: Good or Bad?

In the last issue, I discussed the topic of talking and communicating in a relationship. So it seems appropriate today to look into what silence may mean, when practiced by one or both or all parties.

Friday, July 21, 2017

We Need to Talk

If you hear that statement, does it make you anxious? Do you get a knot in your stomach? Why? Why is talking a dreaded behavior? Or is it the unknown about what the talk might involve? Now if you hear that in a work context, is it different than when it is in a personal situation?


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