NAVIGATION- Dr. Charles R. Davenport; Licensed Psychologist

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Meditation may help treat anxiety

Meditation can help treat anxiety

Meditation and mindfulness meditation in particular  have been trending in popular culture in recent years and have been found to be beneficial in treating anxiety. There is a fair amount of existing research  that suggests  meditation  changes the way  our brain functions  and our brain structure.

Research recently discussed through media outlet Forbes looked at a small sample size  of people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)  nearly 20,000,000 people will have  symptoms consistent with this diagnosis at some point in their lifetimes. a unique aspect of this study  was that participants were applied to a mindfulness  stress reduction treatment  or a stress management education course.  The hope was that this would eliminate  some of the placebo affect in previous studies on mindfulness meditation  that offered a treatment and nontreatment group only. initial findings from the study suggests that individuals who engaged in the mindfulness stress reduction treatment had significantly lower levels of stress markers ACTH, IL-6 and TNF-α.

There have been a number of findings consistent with the potential benefit of mindfulness meditation  for treating anxiety. A 2009 study on Anxiety, from Harvard, looked at the connection between stress reduction and changes in brain structure. This study suggested that an eight week trial of meditation can change the structure of the amygdala, a part of our brain that responds  to stress and arousal. These changes to the amygdala  were found to correlate  with one’s  perception of reduced stress. Slightly different but in a similar vein a 2013 meta-analysis from Johns Hopkins suggested  that meditation was linked significantly with reduced anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Information presented in this  entry is not intended  to treat or diagnose any medical or mental health disorder.  In addition, the techniques referenced in this article are likely to be most beneficial  when implemented under the guidance of a trained professional.

Can people change or is personality set?

personality change possible
A recent study found  that personality can change more than we once thought.  It was believed that  once personality  develops it is generally set and only able to change slightly over a significant period of time. A new study finds, that with therapy or counseling, with a professional,  personality  is able to change more rapidly and  significantly  than we once believed.

This study looked at over 200 published research papers. These papers all assessed personality traits as an outcome  of different kinds  of therapy or counseling. This review was published  in the Journal  psychological bulletin on January 5  and offers powerful suggestions that personality is not a static  as we once  expected.

This research does not  mean that we are rapidly able to change personality characteristics. In fact who we are does not tend to change in therapy  but we are able to influence  our reactions and awareness  to our own thoughts and feelings as well as input from others. When working with couples, Dr. Davenport has frequently seen a spouse wanting to change the other  tomorrow or in coming weeks. Unfortunately,  this is not likely realistic. However, focusing on  one aspect of who we are  and looking at it for many facets does have  opportunity change over time which this research supports. With many human behaviors slow and steady change is more easily  maintained than those shifts that come  rapidly.

There is evidence that people can change later in life  which suggests that enduring personality traits  may be able  to be changed deliberately.  This is in contrast  to previous research  on “big five” personality traits neuroticism, agreeableness, extroversion, and contentiousness which were indicated to be predictive of life success. Although these characteristics are likely adaptive  they may not illustrate  the entire picture. There is some research that indicates  an increase in emotional stability and  contentiousness during young adulthood and midlife.  In addition, openness to new experience tends to increase  during teenage years declining in old age.  This suggests that although some characteristics  may tend to pervade throughout life  there is also a continual shift  as we become more open  to new experience and potential change.

In summary, a new study supports that we’re able to make significant change  in aspects  of our personality  with continued therapy or counseling  with a trained professional.  Please contact  Charles R Davenport PsyD LLC  if you would like  to discuss the counseling or therapy services  this practice can offer you  or a loved one.

Living with regret?

regret: Dr. Charles R Davenport licensed psychologist

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52211064

 

Regret, and emotion most people are familiar with and one most of us don’t care for. Regret has been defined as the experience we have when we realize we may have had a better outcome  if we chose differently. Many times having more opportunities  can create a greater opportunity  for regret (Roese, N & Summerville, A.). This doesn’t mean  that we should live lives striving for less opportunity. It does suggest that as our lives have become increasingly more complex, potentially as a result of more opportunity, successfully managing regret could be a powerful benefit.

There are several common ways regret presents itself in our lives:

  1. Opportunities lost– When we feel that we missed opportunities we are at greater risk for feeling regret. The more opportunities we think we lost the more regret we are likely to feel.
  2. Belief that we can make a difference– Feeling that we can make a difference in our world is generally good. If something doesn’t turn out as we would like and we feel that we should have been able to influence it we are more likely to feel regret in how we proceeded.
  3. Close but not exactly what we expect– When we take on a task or challenge and get close to our goal we are more likely to feel regret than if we are nowhere our goal. The proximity to our goal without completely reaching seems to enhance the likelihood of regret. It might service better to reward ourselves for working toward a goal independent of the outcome.
  4. Having the opportunity to change our mind– If we take a plan of action and are not able to revisit or redo any steps of it we are more likely to move forward without regret. it is possible this is allowing us to focus on what we can do next or how we can learn from the past rather than getting caught in uncertainty surrounding making the “best decision.” for example, shoppers are happier when they can’t get a refund rather than wondering if they should seek a refund.

Charles R Davenport, Psy.D., LLC.  provides therapy and counseling services in Venice, Florida and Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Charles R Davenport is a Licensed Psychologist who works with individuals and couples to find change in their lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with regret please feel free to contact the office at 941-321-1971.

Psychologist Venice, FL- Dr. Charles R. Davenport

Charles R. Davenport, Psy.D., LLC. Licensed Psychologist- Dr. Charles R. Davenport

Powerball lottery… are we Optimistic?

With all of the interest around Powerball lottery the American Psychological Association (APA) has chimed in.

A question many of us may find in our mind, should we by Powerball ticket or not? Is it a wise choice, worthwhile investment, evidence of being gullible, a sign of being hopeful, or proof of weakness? Well, in all honesty, there’s good likelihood the answer may be yes to all of the above. imagining winning the lottery is frequently accompanied by thoughts of having change in her life, quitting jobs, buying homes, or paying off debt. using imagination can be a wonderful thing frequently lost childhood. As adults it can be powerful to have imagination in our life which is tempered with our adult experiences. Imagining things being different is not a far leap from optimism which, I might suggest, is a critical component of us being able to imagine that things can be different and in turn grow or find change in our life.

So why do we buy lottery tickets?

It might be a built-in component of our survival, optimism, imagining that things can be better and working to make that happen.

If we stopped really didn’t think things were possible, as humans, we would be losing opportunities to grow and see what we might not be aware of. There is vulnerability in this however, we may hope for a particular kind of change that never happens. Does this mean that we failed or were wrong? It might not have to be the case… if we are able to glean something that we use in the future to accomplish a goal or avoid a pitfall to venture into hope or optimism might have been very helpful.

Venice Florida psychologist, Dr. Charles R Davenport, provides counseling and therapy services at Dr. Charles R Davenport PsyD LLC.

He works with patients to help them find change and deal with career stress, anxiety, depression, and communication difficulties. Please feel free to contact Charles  R. Davenport, Psy.D. , LLC at 941-321-1971.

Gender identity and sexual orientation related to eating disorder risk

A recent study released in the April 28 Journal of Adolescent Health looked at students from more than 200 US universities. this study explored potential connections between gender identity, sexual orientation, and risk for having an eating disorder. The study found that gay, bisexual, transgender, and non-transgender lesbian college students are at the highest risk for eating disorders.

 

gender identity and sexual orientation are both powerful aspects of who we see ourselves to be. Given that many of the labels of gender identity and sexual orientation discussed in this research have not always been widely accepted and popular culture individuals identifying themselves in this way are likely to find themselves, at worst living in the cross-hairs or at best with mild friction living in popular culture. when who we are is under attack we are likely to try to protect ourselves. One way we do this is by trying to have control over the parts of our selves which we are able. one of the ways human beings are powerfully able to affect their physical body, feelings, and thoughts is through regulation of food and body size. It is not a big surprise to this writer that people who have been “bruised” or even gently pushed on may be more susceptible to try to counter this force. Many times, as human beings, we reflexively will respond and as a result of having a sense of relief continue to do things in the same vein. This overtime can develop into an eating disorder or any number of problematic ways of regulating thoughts and feelings. Although Dr. Davenport does not particularly specialize in eating disorders he has had much success working with people who struggle as a result of the dynamics discussed above. Many times these same people also struggle with feelings related to their value, worth, and loveability.

Oxytocin: How “love hormone” helps moms care

New research by Indiana University, recently published in the Journal for Hormones and Behavior, suggests that the love hormone, oxytocin, eases mother’s ability to care for an upset newborn. Researchers in the study were trying to see how oxytocin may direct new mothers toward caregiving of infants and away from other concerns  such as physical intimacy. In particular, this research focuses on the impact on mothers in the six months following childbirth.

This study looked at mothers who had given birth in the past six months and women without children. Oxytocin as well as placebo was administered and participants were asked to look at pictures including sexual activity, smiling infant, and crying babies. Neutral images were also used. As the women viewed the images their brain activity was monitored. The findings suggest that all participants who were administered oxytocin experienced a significant increase in brain activity frequently associated with reward systems as they viewed the images of a crying infant.

interestingly, this research suggests that crying which is generally and emotion we find to not be favorable had a greater impact on women then cute or sweet things that we frequently identify as favorable. The importance of maternal orientation to a child who is in distress, early in their development, was suggested as an explanation for the connection between oxytocin, which is strongly connected with reproductive events for women, and the women’s motivation when seeing a crying baby.

Our early connections with caretakers many times can serve as the foundation for our sense of comfort and safety both in who we are and in relation to others. These are also areas which are frequently associated with oxytocin. and understanding our lives today can be helpful to be curious and aware of how our early interactions may shape us today. This is something that interests you are you would like to explore further please contact Dr. Charles R. Davenport Psy.D. who is a licensed psychologist in Venice Florida and Sarasota Florida

Acetaminophen: reduces pain but also pleasure…

many of us are familiar with acetaminophen and its powerful ability to reduce pain and fever. This over-the-counter medication has also been found to reduce painful emotions and more recently it has been suggested that it may reduce positive feeling as well.

Recent research published in Psychological Science in the journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

this research found that using Tylenol or similar products might have a further reach that had previously been understood. Geoffrey Durso, a doctoral student in social psychology at Ohio State University and the lead author of the study. “Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever.”

The study had control subjects which were given placebo and the remainder were given 1000 mg of acetaminophen. The subjects were then asked to rate photographs as pleasant or unpleasant. The researchers followed up to test a small group of 85 people to see whether the change in judgment from acetaminophen applied just to emotion or whether the drug blunted peoples of evaluation of magnitude in general. This finding suggested that acetaminophen did not alter individual’s sense of magnitude.

Although overwhelming emotion can be very troubling in our having happy fulfilling livesemotions are critical sources of information from our body. Just as physical pain tells us something is wrong so does emotional pain. Just as taking Tylenol to make a headache go away can be problematic if the headache is from a tumor or hypertension numbing emotion can be equally risky. Dr. Charles Davenport works with patients of all ages to provide counseling and therapy services to better understand their own personal difficulties and how they can thrive.

Narcissim: Am I a Narcissist?

A recent press release by the American Psychological Association (APA) discusses an article published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Narcissism and the Use of Personal Pronouns Revisited.

Common belief is that words such as “I” and “me” being overused is evidence of  narcissism. however, empirical research for this belief is at best sparse and at least inconsistent.

Generally narcissists are described his people  who have an unrealistically positive sense of their own goodness, superiority, and self-importance. Most people who are narcissists are not reading this article wondering if you may relate to them, as the nature of narcissists predispose them to be certain there is nothing wrong with anything related to them.

This most recent study found no association between pronoun use and narcissism. There are some limitations in the study given the relatively small sample size from the United States and Germany. Other limitations include the assessment tool used to detect narcissism. These limitations aside, it is probably safe to say that the use of personal pronouns does not mean someone is narcissistic.

Many times characteristics of narcissism stem from misguided attempts to protect ourselves from vulnerability that we may not be good enough in our own eyes or in the eyes of others. This set of defenses leaves the person certain that there are wonderful at times wondering why things are not more how they would like them in their lives. Frequently, it is in these situations folks may begin seeking treatment. In fact, there may be gradations of narcissism. those who are completely entrenched in their insistence that they are right frequently do not seek out counseling or therapy in less things are in particular crisis. It is also frequently the case once the acute crises resolved these individuals discontinue therapy and resume their certainty of their excellence. Sometimes living with her growing up with a narcissist results in individual realizing that the best way for them to be unscathed is to mirror the narcissistic values. When this happens these individuals may look like narcissists but they’re much more curious about themselves and their lives and tend to benefit significantly from individual therapy and counseling. Dr. Davenport does much work with these kinds of folks frequently looking at how they can live happier more fulfilling lives without having to rely exclusively on outdated and frequently misguided self protection techniques.

It is likely we all have aspects of narcissistic defense. Dr. Davenport recommends that we consider counseling or therapy if any of these characteristics interfere with someone’s life being how they would like it to be.

 

 

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Love hormone used to treat alcohol dependence?

Oxytocin, a hormone that affects feelings of closeness and well-being and is associated with long-term mating behaviors, has been found to counter the effects of a beer buzz. This according to recent research from the University of Regensburg, in Germany and the University of Sydney, in Australia. The relationship between oxytocin and alcohol was explained Dr. Michael Bowen in a recent press release.

The findings indicate that alcohol remained in the rats system and that oxytocin prevented the intoxicating effects on the animal. Dr. Bowen explained that “in the rat equivalent of his sobriety test, the rats given alcohol and oxytocin passed with flying colors, while those given alcohol without oxytocin were seriously impaired.”

It is believed that the oxytocin being present in the system prevented GABA-a receptors in the rat brain from being activated. This suggests that the rat will have alcohol in its system but not exhibit any of the intoxicating effects frequently seen with GABA-a receptor activation. GABA is one of the most powerful inhibitory receptors in our mind and body is also associated with sleep function. GABA may also be responsible for the seizure activity associated with alcohol withdrawal.

Many people who use alcohol excessively, to the extent where it interferes with their happiness in functioning, depend on alcohol to manage thoughts and/or emotions that are unpleasant. Many times these techniques were learned early in life and are even adaptive reflexes to getting need attention from the environment.

Attachment theory looks at how our connection to early people we depended on, for caretaking, affects our emotional regulation (release of oxytocin). Many times people who struggle with alcohol dependence have had disruption in these important relationships or receiving the attention they needed. It is possible that oxytocin which is released during these powerful bonds early in life continues to play a role with alcoholics as adults. This is interesting new research that seems to follow our understanding of emotional regulation and attachment as they relate to alcohol abuse and probably most substances or relationships of abuse.

 

Dr. Charles R. Davenport helps people struggling with addiction better understand and find change in their lives. If you might want help with an addiction call the Sarasota or Venice offices of Charles R. Davenport, Psy.D., LLC. at 941-321-1971.

 

Here is another article on the press release.

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Your psychological well-being may be reflected in your skin

Recent studies by the American psychological Association (APA) suggest a connection between common skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, eczema, itching, pain, and hives may be related to significant experience of stress, anxiety, and depression among other psychological concerns.

To some, this may be expected, to others they may be surprised to hear. has a licensed psychologist I many patient seem to have physical symptoms that are made worse or brought on psychological stress or conflict. Just as our emotions can be a source of critical data about things going on in our body, so can skin conditions according to these recent studies. Many times migraine headaches, increase in autoimmune dysfunction, and gastrointestinal disruption are also seen with increased emotional distress. Many times these physical manifestations suggest that the stress the person is experiencing his overwhelming their ability to let the stress out or cope. Finding new ways to work through overwhelming problems is something Dr. Davenport does with many patients at his practice Charles R. Davenport, Psy.D., LLC. with locations in Venice, FL and Sarasota, FL.

 

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