Self-care is a bit of a buzzword these days. At its best, it encourages people to have balance in their lives and to tend to their health needs. However, the self-care movement seems to have been picked up as a way to market things to people, placing greater importance on indulging themselves with products or experiences. And for some, the idea that prioritizing self-care will improve mental health can backfire, because they believe their persistent emotional distress is due to an inability to commit to activities or products rather than other factors (e.g. difficulty accessing mental health treatment).
We invited Dr. Joel Minden on the show because we think that the approach in his book, Show Your Anxiety Who’s Boss, is an excellent way to think about self-care. Joel acknowledges the value of self-care activities to promote health and manage stress, but he argues that self-care is not the answer for every concern. He makes the case for flexibly responding to emotional and practical challenges with realistic and useful thinking, solution-focused action, and responding to difficult emotions with greater acceptance and warmth.
For anxiety, specifically, he talks about the risk of acting impulsively on anxiety and avoidance urges, and how this approach can make anxiety even more difficult to manage in the long run. Instead, he encourages responses to anxiety that prioritize long-term values, so that you can direct your attention to living with meaning and purpose. Joel’s approach involves relating to anxiety objectively, as an inevitable part of life, rather than something to get rid of. As much as self-care has its place, it’s important to consider opportunities for change and acceptance to help you respond to life’s challenges and the difficult thoughts and feelings that go with them, with strategies that boost personal control and life satisfaction.
According to Pornhub, people are watching a lot more porn since the pandemic started. Some worry that this will lead to a permanent jump in post-pandemic porn use, while others expect that porn use will return to pre-pandemic levels after all of this is over. Can people be addicted to porn? Are their psychological benefits of porn use? What treatment approaches are used with people concerned about their porn use? Dr. Joshua Grubbs, who is a professor, researcher, and a clinical psychologist, gives us fascinating answers in this episode!
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In this second part to our Tiger King episode, we are very excited to talk to Dr. Hal Herzog. Hal is a world-renown anthrozoologist and professor emeritus at Western Carolina University. He wrote a great book on the complex relationships between humans and animals called “Some we Love, Some we Hate, Some we Eat” and he maintains a blog on Psychology Today called Animals and Us. We had a lot of fun talking about anthrozoology, the one time that Hal got to hang out with a chimp at Doc Antle’s farm (yes, THAT Doc Antle), his research on ethical issues of human and animals, like whether it is ethical to keep animals as pets. After all, if you consider your pet a part of your family, would you neuter a member of your family? We probably are not going to get any pet food endorsements for Psychodrama after this episode, but that is ok. We had so much fun making it that this is a virtually unedited version. So, please, enjoy this extra long episode of Psychodrama to help with the tedium of quarantine.
Alright! On this episode of Psychodrama, we jump on the Tiger King bandwagon and try to inject clinical psychological science to help (perhaps) explain some of the “colorful” behavior prominently displayed by the main characters of the series. From Joe’s gun-totin’- devil-may-care, pathological attention-seeking to Carole (killed her husband?) Baskin’s single-minded crusade to be the one and only tiger queen and savior to Doc’s Antle’s Svengali-like influence on his feline followers. Listen to this first episode of a 2-part series as we try to humanize the main characters but also admit that it would be pretty sweet to commute to work riding your own elephant (or at least jet-ski).
What does psychological science have to say about the effects of humor on prejudice? Can humor be harmful? Can offensive, dark, or gallows humor ever be helpful? Our special guest, Dr. Tom Ford, discusses his research on humor and prejudice to inform the debate.
In this inaugural episode, we set the mood for our show by dipping our toes in the “culture wars” and the parallels of “cancel culture” in comedy and academia. We discuss controversies surrounding Dave Chappelle and Professor Ronald Sullivan Jr. Finally, we wonder: should we have higher standards for Harvard or for an open mic night at the HaHa hole?