Jennifer Staat, Ph.D.
Blog
What to Look for in a Psychologist
2/28/13
"If we weren't all crazy, we'd all go insane," croons Jimmy Buffet in a famous beach tune.

As the song implies, we all have idiosyncracies that enable us to cope. A good therapist is someone who is comfortable with their own unique nature and who makes you feel comfortable with yours.

An effective therapist will see the many parts of your personality and help you combine them in new ways that are empowering. In the course of treatment, you should begin to form a new life narrative in which you are the hero of your own story. You learn to face "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" yet overcome and transform them.

Just taking the time to reconfigure your life story with an empathic other helps you change your life. You realize more about who you really are and the creative ways you have survived stress and difficulties. Your self-esteem begins to expand as your faith in yourself grows.

Therapy is an exciting journey, and the right therapist can be an invaluable guide.
Secret of Success
2/27/13
In his Oscars acceptance speech, Ben Affleck said his Hollywood
cohorts taught him that "you have to work harder than you think you
possibly can," and that it "doesn't matter how you get knocked down
in life; all that matters is that you've got to get back up."
How to Be Creative
2/25/13
1. You are creative. The artist is not a special person, each one of us is a special kind of artist. Every one of us is born a creative, spontaneous thinker. The only difference between people who are creative and people who are not is a simple belief. Creative people believe they are creative. People who believe they are not creative, are not. Once you have a particular identity and set of beliefs about yourself, you become interested in seeking out the skills needed to express your identity and beliefs. This is why people who believe they are creative become creative. If you believe you are not creative, then there is no need to learn how to become creative and you don't. The reality is that believing you are not creative excuses you from trying or attempting anything new. When someone tells you that they are not creative, you are talking to someone who has no interest and will make no effort to be a creative thinker.

2. Creative thinking is work. You must have passion and the determination to immerse yourself in the process of creating new and different ideas. Then you must have patience to persevere against all adversity. All creative geniuses work passionately hard and produce incredible numbers of ideas, most of which are bad. In fact, more bad poems were written by the major poets than by minor poets. Thomas Edison created 3000 different ideas for lighting systems before he evaluated them for practicality and profitability. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart produced more than six hundred pieces of music, including forty-one symphonies and some forty-odd operas and masses, during his short creative life. Rembrandt produced around 650 paintings and 2,000 drawings and Picasso executed more than 20,000 works. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets. Some were masterpieces, while others were no better than his contemporaries could have written, and some were simply bad.

3. You must go through the motions of being creative. When you are producing ideas, you are replenishing neurotransmitters linked to genes that are being turned on and off in response to what your brain is doing, which in turn is responding to challenges. When you go through the motions of trying to come up with new ideas, you are energizing your brain by increasing the number of contacts between neurons. The more times you try to get ideas, the more active your brain becomes and the more creative you become. If you want to become an artist and all you did was paint a picture every day, you will become an artist. You may not become another Vincent Van Gogh, but you will become more of an artist than someone who has never tried.

4. Your brain is not a computer. Your brain is a dynamic system that evolves its patterns of activity rather than computes them like a computer. It thrives on the creative energy of feedback from experiences real or fictional. You can synthesize experience; literally create it in your own imagination. The human brain cannot tell the difference between an "actual" experience and an experience imagined vividly and in detail. This discovery is what enabled Albert Einstein to create his thought experiments with imaginary scenarios that led to his revolutionary ideas about space and time. One day, for example, he imagined falling in love. Then he imagined meeting the woman he fell in love with two weeks after he fell in love. This led to his theory of acausality. The same process of synthesizing fictional experiences allowed Walt Disney to bring his fantasies to life.

For more tips on how to be creative see:

topics/knowledge/twelve-things-you-were-not-taught-school-about-creative-thinking
Sights to Sooth the Soul
2/17/13
The Meaning of Life
2/10/13
"This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don't like something, change it (therapy can help). If you don't like your job, quit. If you don't have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, STOP. They will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Stop over analyzing. Life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things. And, people. We are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is. And, share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once. Seize them. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them. So, go out and start creating. LIfe is short. LIVE YOUR DREAM and share your passion." ---The Holstee Manifesto

"Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it." Dan Dennett, philosopher