Oct 27, 2009
I'm proud to announce the launch of my new website, MyVirtualShrink.com.
This program is all about positive mental health.
I started working on this program for over three decades ago when I first committed myself to the ambitious goal of translating the wisdom of psychiatry into an educational program for everyone that is accurate, accessible and affordable.
Having conducted the mental health forum here on MedHelp for four years, I have found myself so often recommending psychotherapy to people struggling with the side effects of medications that were not even helping their anxiety and depression. So many of these members were prescribed medications only because they could not afford the psychotherapy they needed, or because of the stigma that still exists that prevents primary care doctors from recommending psychotherapy.
I believe I have created a viable alternative for this large segment of our medical population.
I encourage anyone who is feeling distressed or is ready to face problems to visit the site and build themselves a free plan to grow and feel better. That in itself will be of some immediate benefit, and set the stage for more if more is desired at that time.
You will have an opportunity to exercise your "mind muscle" in real time with real problems, and simultaneously decrease the tension in your life. You may ask "how can this be?" Here's how it works.
You start the program because some aspect of your life is not working or you have symptoms like anxiety or depression. The very first thing we do is help you find the source of your stress.
The unresolved problems that sit in our head cause tension. It could be work, family, relationships or just old self doubts or vague worries or things about yourself you vow to change but never do. In one way or another your mind works on these problems even after you have put them out of your mind temporarily. Until we put the problem to rest, in one form or another, it is tension producing.
The "Thinking" Muscle
We take you through what we call Guided Thinking Sessions to help you think through what you could do that you are not already doing, or doing enough. The key here is to think it through and continue to explore options in a systematic and thoughtful way, something that most people simply can't do on their own without getting lost along the way in the emotions that are aroused. Every time we take you through this step by step problem solving sequence, you will be exercising a very important mental muscle. You will be sorting out facts from what you want to believe. You will be deciding whether certain expectations are reasonable or unreasonable, whether you have reacted or over-reacted in a particular situation, and much more. You will be exercising the highest part of your intelligence in order to understand and modulate your emotional mind. This is how you take charge of yourself.
When you completed one of our guided sessions you will see written on the monitor several things you can do to resolve the problem. You now have moved the problem from the back of your head to the surface of your mind and are actually seeing your own intention to act, which in and by itself will give you some relief from stress. Your consciousness will have been upgraded. You will have practiced reality testing and self honesty. You will have answered hard questions that we have helped to formulate, the kind that I would have asked you in my office. In other words, you will have used the best part of your mind and you will feel good about yourself because in just twenty minutes or so you will have done the work you needed to do to take care of yourself.
The "Acting in the World" Muscle
The next point in the journey is to either act or decide not to act on the potential solutions you generated. The thinking work done during the guided session was preparation for action in the world. Thinking about it is not enough. You have to carry out some experiment in order to find the resting spot for whatever is bothering you.
Deciding to act is another part of the mind muscle. Action is public, generates a response from others, and sends a ripple through relationships. Since every action has some degree of risk, intending to act sends up worry flags in your brain and recruits old fears and self doubts which get mixed into and confused with real risk factors that have to be weighed and sorted out in order to make a good judgment about how, when, or even whether to act on any of the options generated in the thinking through session.
It's the old outdated fears and self doubts that usually make us fearful of taking appropriate and useful action. And it's that which we help you master.
We focus heavily on the action decision, particularly on the hesitancy to act on something that you know is in your best interest to do, like talking to someone about an important issue or changing a behavior habit or attitude that does not serve you well. This is where you practice a higher form of reality testing and come to know the imagery of your irrational fears occupying the theater of your own mind. This is where you challenge your own self doubts and expand the right to express or be yourself.
The "Insight" Muscle
When you carry out some of your options you may experience a completely successful outcome or you may have only moved yourself one step closer to the goal you are seeking. In either case you will have experienced a sense of mastery which will build self-confidence in the present as well as for future instances of similar problems. You will have learned more about yourself and the world you live in.
If the action you did simply did not work you will have learned something about yourself or the people you are engaged with.
Even if you decide not to act because after sleeping on it you decided it was not a good idea you will be building self confidence in your judgment. Deciding not to act for good reasons is just another way of being in charge.
In all cases you will learn something when you work through the decision to act. We help you capture and reinforce what you learned so you can review and remember the valuable insights generated by your experience. You will actually learn the most when you explore the hesitancy to act when you know what you intend to do is clearly the right thing to do.
You'll be able to see on the screen the words that represent the fears in the back of your mind. You'll see the insights you need to remember in order to dismantle those irrational fears in future situations. Each time we help you identify them you will be clearing your head of old cobwebs, making room for a healthier and more expansive engagement with your own life.
I've tried to illustrate both what we do and how it will help you as we guide you through the journey from stress to stress-reducing problem resolution. At each step of the way we help you build your confidence and your skills and your ability to take charge of yourself and your life. The more you do this, the healthier you become.
This is what we psychiatrists do in our office…we help people have conversations with themselves, about themselves, and about how their mind really works. I have tried to create an online experience that does the same thing, but with a “virtual” psychiatrist. I like to think that after thirty years of practice I know, and can offer, the right questions. That’s my part. Your part is to “listen” to yourself answer. That’s how you can have an honest conversation with yourself..the only pathway to real mental health.
This program is hard work sometimes, but remember, it's about you, and your mind muscles....and about living a much fuller and more satisfying life.
I hope you’ll visit the site whenever you are in need of help.