junelle barrett porter, mft
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Articles written by Junelle Barrett Porter

Would you rather have $41,542 or 3 to 4 months worth of therapy?

A lot of people would want the money, right? Well I'm not going to tell you that people chose the therapy over the money. But I am going to tell you that a research study of thousands of people found that it would take a pay raise of $41,542 to match the sense of well-being that people found after just 3-4 months of therapy. The study was published November of 2009 in the journal Health Economics, Policy and Law.

Here are some highlights of the article and research study:

"Psychological therapy may be much more effective at making people happy than getting a raise or winning a lottery prize, suggests an English study.

"Researchers analyzed data on thousands of people who provided information about their mental well-being and found that the increase in happiness from a $1,329 course of therapy was so significant that it would take a pay raise of more than $41,542 per year to achieve an equal boost in well-being.

"That suggests that therapy could be as much as 32 times more cost-effective at improving well-being than simply getting more money, the researchers said."

Wow - $41,542! That's quite a pay raise, wouldn't you say? Notice that it wasn't $35,000, $25,000 or even $10,000. I assume that $41,542 was the calculated average of the thousands of research respondents. That says quite a lot for the value of good therapy!

Lets take a closer look at happiness and money.

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Three Ways to Transform a Painful Failure Into Success

As Jeff walked out of the interview he forced himself to smile and say a chipper goodbye to the assistant stationed outside the office. It wasn't until he was in the elevator that he felt his heart start to sink into his belly. The interview was a disaster. By the time he got to his car he was washed in dread. This was his first interview since he was let go from his job of 15 years. The look of cold indifference he saw on the face of his interviewer was stuck in his head and the knot in his belly was now the size of a fist. He knew he had to keep looking for a job but he just didn't know how he was going to face another interview.

When failures are painful

Was Jeff's interview a failure? If it was as bad as he thought it was, then yes, it was a failure. A failure is an unsuccessful attempt or an undesired outcome. – and that certainly applies to Jeff's interview. Like most of us, Jeff was familiar with unsuccessful attempts and outcomes because they are a fairly routine part of life. We bump into failures frequently, like toddlers who are learning to walk. But when the stakes are high for a good outcome, failure doesn't feel routine; it's excruciating – like a harsh blow that takes time to recover from. So here are 3 steps that will help you turn a devastating experience around.

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How can I tell if I'm depressed … or just sad?

Depression is at epic levels. The Center for Disease Control estimates that in the USA alone more than 16 million people experience symptoms of depression every day. We are all impacted by traumatic events, losses, separations, and disappointments. Such events can cause us to grieve and move differently in the world for a time. As depression sets in, we start shutting down emotionally, stop caring, become numb or despondent, and are left feeling weighed down under a heavy blanket of futility. Why do some people develop depression while others don't? Genetics, hormones, biochemistry, lifestyle and social dynamics are variables that determine this. We want to catch depression early because as it progresses it can result in disease and chronic health issues, suicide, loss in productivity, addiction, and social isolation.

How do we know if we are depressed, or if we are sad? Difficult events are often intense emotional and psychological experiences and it can be confusing to know if we are truly depressed, or sad. Here are some differentials that can help us determine which is which.

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Rising Up From Depression

Depression typically breeds disordered thinking and behavioral habits that perpetuate more depression, which leads to more hopelessness, breeding more such habits… in a self-perpetuating negative feedback loop. You may have heard the saying "neurons that fire together wire together." This is relevant to depression in both negative and positive ways. If we are so deeply depressed that we are unable to take the necessary actions to heal, our neural pathways continue to connect as depression and send us down the slippery slope of more entrenched depression. The good news is that we can use the same tendency to create pathways that lead to hope and recovery. We do this by making a just one positive choice that seems relevant and as the behavior related to that choice is practiced, results lead to positive cycles that perpetuating wellness; eventually allowing us to feel the hope and confidence to lead lives that are engaged and meaningful.

Antidepressants can have a role in helping depression feel more manageable. They aren't a magic pill, but they can lift the fog that keeps us from caring about our lives and acting towards our wellbeing.

Here are some choices that can lead to a significant difference.

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Confidentiality

I'm very private and it is important to me that issues I talk about are confidential. Is my confidentiality completely protected?

Yes. By law I am bound to protect your confidentiality. The exceptions to this are related to child or elder abuse or a threat to harm another person. If you want to use a third party payer to pay for therapy it will be necessary to provide the information required by your insurance company which will likely include a diagnosis. If this is the case I will discuss with you what is disclosed to an insurer.

I am passionate about working with people to cultivate positive relationships with themselves because I believe this is the cornerstone to living a life that is meaningful and true to our unique natures.

I bring over 30 years of experience as a therapist, a background in theatre, a deep interest in spiritual development, a love of humor, a curious nature, a compassionate heart and a deep regard for honesty - even if I find it challenging or disturbing. While I enjoy learning new approaches and current thinking in my field, I don't much follow the theoretical maps that once informed my work; instead as I carefully listen to you I allow myself to be guided by my instincts, intellect, body and heart - not necessarily in that order!

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