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Tom Moon, M.F.T. Author: Tom Moon

Author: Tom Moon

Twelve Habits of Happy People

Research shows that 50 percent of a person’s happiness level is genetically determined, 10 percent is affected by life circumstances and situation, and a remaining 40 percent is determined by our own behavior. Positive psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky has made a career of studying the causes of happiness, and in her bestselling book, The How of…

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Vertrumpt!

Because this is a mental health column, I usually avoid political commentary, and I’ll try not to do too much now. But this week the subject is how we’re responding psychologically to Donald Trump, and here politics and mental health overlap. My personal view of Trump’s character was best summed-up by the incomparable Charles Blow,…

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Dysfunctional Family Roles 4. The Mascot

As I wrote in the first column in this series, dysfunctional families are characterized by abuse coupled with denial that any abuse is going on; by disrespect and violations of members’ boundaries; by shaming and lack of empathy; and usually by a fair amount of chaos, often due to alcoholism or drug abuse. Children in…

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Dysfunctional Family Roles 3. The Lost Child

All children in dysfunctional families suffer some degree of neglect, and are also acutely aware of how much chaos, conflict, and pain there is in the family. In their efforts to respond to these difficult situations, they very often adopt one of four stereotypical roles: the hero, the scapegoat, the lost child, and the mascot….

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Dysfunctional Family Roles 2. The Scapegoat

In the previous column, I described dysfunctional families as “characterized by abuse coupled with denial that any abuse is going on; by disrespect and violations of members’ boundaries; by shaming and lack of empathy; and usually by a fair amount of chaos, often due to alcoholism or drug abuse,” and I noted that children in…

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Dysfunctional Family Roles 1. The Hero

The phrase “dysfunctional family” may have become a cliché, but it does describe something real and all-too-common. Dysfunctional families are characterized by abuse coupled with denial that any abuse is going on; by disrespect and violations of members’ boundaries; by shaming and lack of empathy; and usually by a fair amount of chaos, often due…

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Distractions

  “The unexamined life is not worth living.” That saying, which Plato attributed to Socrates, succinctly expresses the basic value underlying psychotherapy and most other forms of personal exploration – the idea that self-knowledge is a fundamental value in human life.   All methods of self-understanding, from western psychotherapy to Eastern paths of spiritual self-inquiry,…

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Fearing Hope

Tyler has been talking with me for over a year about how much he hates his job. He’s underpaid and underappreciated and his friends and colleagues continually assure him that he can find something better. His resolution for the New Year was to find a new job, but week after week he arrives at his…

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Bad Attitudes

One of the great secrets of life, and a central insight of cognitive therapy, was summed up in a simple way two thousand years ago by the Stoic philosopher, Epictetus: “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.” Most of us assume, most of the time, that when…

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Single on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is almost here again, a day that is pretty tough for a lot of single people. So many of us have uncritically bought into the notion, almost universally assumed in popular movies, music, and books, that romantic love is the One True Road to happiness. Life doesn’t really begin until you meet your…

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