Conference: Flourishing Through Meaning and Purpose

A summer conference entitled The Positive Psychology of Flourishing Through Meaning and Purpose will be held July 26-29, 2012, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

This is being hosted by the International Network on Personal Meaning.

Who should attend?
Students, scholars, mental health professionals and anyone who values Viktor Frankl, positive psychology, resilience, and eudaimonia is invited to submit a brief summary of their work for possible presentation at the conference. Or, delegates may attend as an interested member of the listening audience.

A selected sample of keynote speakers include Richard Ryan, Chris Peterson, Jordan Peterson, Laura King, Todd Kashdan, Alan Waterman, and many other leading scholars such as humanistic psychologist Stanley Krippner as well as logotherapy practitioners such as Emmy Van Deurzen from the UK. and Paul Wong from Toronto. Viktor Frankl’s grandson, a filmmaker, will fly in from Vienna to talk and show his feature documentary film entitled, Viktor and I.

The deadline for the call for papers is June 15 for non students and June 1st for students. For full conference information, visit

Traumatic Memories

Traumatic memories in the brain are like an overstuffed closet. You slam the door and try to keep them all locked tightly inside but every time anything jars the door open a crack they start to spill out. In therapy, you are opening those doors a bit at a time. Then you deal with what falls out first but there’s still the rest of the pile behind those ones. So you open the door a bit more and more spills out, and so on.

It is difficult work but the more you keep pushing forward the closer you get to being able to open the door all the way to an uncluttered closet.

DBT Self-Help App for the iPhone or iPod

DBT Self-Help App for the iPhone or iPod

DBT Self-help is a tool that helps you manage overwhelming emotions, break destructive impulsive behaviors, navigate relationships and cultivate mindfulness. It contains skill descriptions complete with rationale and practice tips that will enable you to develop and practice the needed skills.

The skills are based upon the principles and skills taught in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy skill classes.

The app can be used in conjunction with psychotherapy or as a standalone self-help intervention as the skills can be implemented into many situations and settings.

Are you experiencing difficulties with feelings and emotion-driven impulsive behaviors? Are you having difficulties maintaining positive relations, ending destructive relationships or safeguarding your self-respect while reaching your interpersonal goals?

Intrusive distressing thoughts and overwhelming emotions are at the heart of many problems. The skills of the DBT Self-help app can help you to manage and to find more effective ways to deal with your issues.

If you are in DBT therapy the DBT Self-help app can enhance skill acquisition and skill generalization, and you will find the Crisis skill list function extremely useful. The app can help you maintain your efficiency with the skills once therapy is over and you move on to build your life.

If you are a DBT therapist the app will be a useful resource to have easy access to skills for coaching and interventions. The feature of skill lists can be used to keep track of individual clients crisis skills to make telephone coaching more effective.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy belongs to the third wave of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy combining learning and cognitive theory with the wisdom and effectiveness of mindfulness – dialectics to balance change and acceptance. DBT have been shown to be efficient in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, Binge eating and Substance Abus Disorder – diagnosises with high amount of overwhelming emotions and impulsive behaviors.

The app will help you to:

  • Gain greater understanding on how thoughts, emotions, physiology and behaviors affect eachother;
  • Build and manage healthy balanced relationsships and develop tools of communication;
  • Cope with overwhelming emotions without acting impulsively;
  • Use effective skills to identify, manage and regulate feelings and emotions;
  • Change behavior to increase the positive emotions in your life;
  • Increase your level of mindfulness and cultivate your awareness and concentration.


  • Intuitive navigation with history and help function, notes, news & updates;
  • The option to tailor and modify a personalized crisis list of skills for rapid access in difficult and critical situations;
  • Create your own skills lists of personally selected skills;
  • Pregenerated skills lists for managing anger, shame, sadness, and fear;
  • Excercises for practicing and registring skills, with the options to save and send the data by mail;
  • The app supports the following languages:
    • English
    • Swedish

The DBT Self-help app is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Cost = $8.99

Mood 24/7 Beta Test and Survey

Mood 24/7 Beta Test and Survey
Chris Hall, Director, Clinical Platforms
September 8, 2010

How many good days did you have last week?

HealthCentral is developing a service called Mood 24/7, based on technology from Johns Hopkins University, to allow you to track your good and bad days with a simple text message.

We can’t do it alone. We need your feedback on Mood 24/7, as it works today and your ideas for making it better. We believe that you can help us make Mood 24/7 a tool that really helps people.

To see how Mood 24/7 works, please CLICK HERE to register today for free. In two weeks we’ll contact you again to see how it worked for you. Your answers to our short survey will help shape the direction of the tool.

To thank you for your time, we’ll select, at random, one person who completes the survey, and make a donation of $100 in that person’s name, to the mental health organization of his or her choice.

Mood 24/7 is a free service. However your cell phone carrier will charge standard text messaging fees for all inbound and outbound texts related to Mood 24/7.

Comes the Darkness, Comes the Light

Comes the Darkness, Comes the Light: A Memoir of Cutting, Healing, and Hope is a powerful new book by Vanessa Vega about her journey into therapy for self-injury and an eating disorder. The book is not for the faint of heart: In sometimes poignant and graphic detail, she describes her self-destructive behaviors and her early experiences in psychotherapy. Ultimately, it is a memoir of courage, strength, and hope.

It is a compulsion like no other, the inescapable consequence and intermingling of tension, shame, guilt, and frustration. It is a descent into a realm of darkness few can understand… yet many secretly experience. It is the disorder known as cutting…

Vanessa Vega would stop at nothing to cause – and therefore control – her own pain. When she wasn’t cutting herself, she might be slamming a hand or arm or leg against a wall. Or she might donate blood or get her iron checked – just to feel the prick of the needle. Her actions would sometimes leave her in a trance-like state, large portions of her day left only as foggy images if they weren’t blocked out completely. The need to cut called to her, even as she fought back, sometimes succeeding, often giving in to a need she herself couldn’t hope to understand…

Slowly, with the help of family, friends, therapists, and an abiding faith, Vanessa gradually and painfuly began to shake off the bonds of despair and helplessness, ultimately gaining strength, until at last she looked the demon in the eye – and stared him down.

This is one woman’s story of a life lost and then regained. Offering hope and agonizingly hard-won insight to others battling this painful disorder, it is a chilling look at the destructive power of the human mind, and an unprecedented account of the tragic results of self-mutilation. But in the end, it is a testament to the incredible power of the desire to live, and to the endless strength available to all of us – even in our darkest hour.

In addition, Vanessa’s account addresses the fear, shame, and misunderstanding that confronts many people beginning psychotherapy, and the relief and comfort that comes from learning that one is not alone in the struggle, that others have journeyed down similar roads and emerged victorious.

This is a book that should be required reading for therapists or loved ones attempting to understand why individuals self-injure and how to assist them in recovery.

self-injury, self-mutilation, eating disorders, therapy, psychotherapy

Royal College of Psychiatrists gets it wrong again

Royal College of Psychiatrists Disappointed At Government’s Failure To Recognize People’s Capacity To Make Decisions For Themselves

(04 Jul 2007) The Royal College of Psychiatrists is deeply disappointed that government has failed to recognize that most people who suffer from mental illnesses are perfectly capable of making decisions for themselves, and present no threat to anyone. Yet, under the mental health bill, they will still have their choice of treatment overruled.

Nonetheless, the College welcomes a number of significant amendments that were made during the Bill’s passage through the House of Commons, including:

  • no patients can now be detained in hospital for a purpose other than to improve, or prevent, a deterioration in their health;
  • all detained patients will have access to an advocate
  • children will be treated in services which are appropriate to their age.

We welcome these amendments and others which are also beneficial to the care and treatment of mental health patients.

It is essential that sufficient resources are now provided for mental health services to ensure that the legislative changes can be made to work properly.

The College looks forward to continuing to work with Mental Health Alliance to ensure that the Code of Practice guides clinicians and others as to best practice.

“The College has worked very hard to try to ensure that the Mental Health Act 2007 respects the human rights of our patients, with the intention of benefiting their health and protecting them from causing any harm whilst unwell,” said Professor Sheila Hollins, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

“I am pleased with the fact that most of our advice has been heeded, although I remain concerned that so much of the detail has been left to the Code of Practice. The College is proud of its continuing membership of the Mental Health Alliance, an Alliance of 75 member organizations that remained united in representing the needs of people with mental illness and other mental disorders throughout the passage of this Act.”

“Although important and valuable changes have been made to the Bill as it passed through parliament, it is clear we ill have to wait for the next mental health act to see adequate and humane safeguards for both patients and the public,” said Dr Tony Zigmond, vice-president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

We’ve discussed the obstructionist and protectionist actions of the Royal College of Psychiatrists previously. First, the legislation does NOT make it easier to hospitalize people who “are perfectly capable of making decisions for themselves, and present no threat to anyone”. That is absolute balderdash. What the legislation does is extend the number of professions who are legally able to make decisions and recommendations about involuntary treatment in cases of imminent risk or incompetence. And THAT is what the Royal College of Psychiatrists is really opposing – because it will encroach on their historical sole authority in this realm.

Second, the legislation, as the College itself notes, includes provisions to prevent abuse of involuntary treatment. How does this do anything except (1) improve the quality of life for those mentally ill individuals who lack the insight to make informed decisions themselves, and (2) reduce the risk (cf. Kendra’s Law) to other people of untreated mental illness?

Kendra’s Law, mandated treament, mental illness, politics of medicine, Kendra’s Law