By Lara Fielding | Sunday, November 4, 2012
I've been teaching a lot about compassion lately. I came across this brief review of the latest research, so I thought I would post it. Compassion skills are central when I teach the Opposite Action skill from DBT for emotions related to anger (irritation, frustration, annoyance). Most of the time, opposite action is just that, an action. But,... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Monday, November 9, 2015
Response-ability In one sense, we are not really responsible for our mental states. Humans can easily get caught in evolutionarily hardwired mind traps. These are the auto-pilot repertoires of thinking and behaving, which we just assume are ‘the kind of person I am.” These traps are extraordinarily difficult for us to see, because they are just what we do, and... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Friday, February 28, 2014
Do you know what your triggers are? Can you name them right off the top of your head? Knowing the kinds of situations that are likely to activate an exaggerated reaction from you is an essential first step in Mindful-Mastery. Triggers are events or situations that activate an intensified emotional reaction in some individuals (but not all), due to... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Saturday, September 27, 2014
WHY NOW? TWO COMMON REASONS There are usually two broad reasons people come to my office. It doesn’t really seem to matter what the categorical diagnosis is. After all, mental health diagnoses are just a cluster of symptoms. Five out of nine usually, which say little about how the symptoms emerged in the first place. So, the diagnosis is usually... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Tuesday, October 21, 2014
  Moving from Awareness to Action: Awareness is an activity of the mind. Behavior problems need behavioral solutions. “Awareness is the first step!” We hear this expressed a lot. Okay. This is true. It is the “first step.” But Awareness – knowing – acknowledging – giving attention to something is not enough, with out the Actions to back it up... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Monday, June 13, 2016
How to Beat a Case of the ”F**k Its”We’ve all been there! It can come on fast - or boil up from a slow brew. There are things to do - goals to be pursued - tasks to be managed. But every ounce of you wants to avoid, procrastinate, and plain old throw in the towel! Your mind starts offering you one hundred different ways to feel better NOW! All the usual suspects come into awareness... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Sunday, November 1, 2015
The mind-body system for regulating emotions is a paradox! You know how it goes. Whether you are just starting a diet, or trying not to think about 'that guy!' The more important you make it to not think about something, the more you think about it! In the last two blogs the mind-body-vehicle and passengers metaphors helped explain why despite our... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Sunday, February 16, 2014
Another problem with our wonderful human mind is that thoughts can be very sticky! By sticky, I mean, we can experience thoughts, memories, and ideas in our minds as if they are actually happening. Psychologists call this “cognitive fusion.” When scientists scan the brains of people thinking certain thoughts, or recalling certain events, the areas... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Tuesday, November 17, 2015
How to Hack Your HabitsYou know how it goes when you get triggered. Something happens, and before you know it, you are hooked. Pulled into an auto-pilot repertoire of thinking and behaving, which inevitably leads to a less than ideal outcome. These traps are extraordinarily difficult for us to catch in flight precisely because they are so quick and automatic. We are all... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Sunday, September 14, 2014
Secondary Emotions: An emotion about an emotion The relationship, beliefs, and attitudes we have towards our emotional experience set us up for secondary emotions and emotion dysregulation. In the last blog (Emotion Regulation (Dys-Regulation) 101) we discussed how the emotion regulation system gets wired through our relationships early in life.... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Sunday, October 25, 2015
Passengers can derail us from our true purposeYou knew it! It was so obvious! You’ve seen this sort of thing so many times before – there was absolutely, positively, not a doubt in your mind. And then…. You were wrong…. We’ve all been there. A gripping thought – a tacit assumption – a core belief, which just feeeels so true. A strong emotion gets triggered and we can’t even imagine an... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Monday, October 12, 2015
Recently I began a new blog series on PsychCentral. The Mindfulness for Millennials blog will be going through all the skills and information I teach in session, step by step.  As the first blog, by means of introduction, I’d like to share with you a bit about what Mindful-Mastery is, and why I am reaching out to Millennials from the heart. The... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Change is not easy. We all have a tendency to behave in ways that do not serve us sometimes. If it were easy, we would not do all the many things we do that are bad for us. The reason is simple. Humans, like all animals, move towards what feels good, and move away from what feels bad. The link we make between X behavior and Y immediate outcome,... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Relationship between emotions, action tendencies, communication function, Answering the BIG Questions Let's face it, in our digital age, we are becoming more and more reliant on reinforcement from the outside to tell us how we 'should' feel and what we 'should' need and care about. Don't know which product to choose? A quick Google search will give you expert reviews and opinions. Not sure about a guy you like, a... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Saturday, September 6, 2014
Emotion Regulation (and Dys-regulation) 101: Emotion Regulation happens when our thoughts-emotions-actions are in a balanced state. We are well regulated when we can respond to the demands of the environment, without reacting impulsively, or shutting down entirely. This is an optimal functioning of the holistic system of mind and body. Emotion DYS... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Are you over or under regulated? Imagine a world that is populated with small fiefdoms all throughout the land. Each has a Castle, with a king or queen, and Villagers. The Castle and the Village metaphor represents two poles of psychological coping: over regulation and under regulation.  Each has it’s strengths and it’s weaknesses. But, when either is overly prominent, rigidly... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Monday, October 12, 2015
Mindful-Mastery is learning to drive your Mind-Body Vehicle This blog series is all about taking a holistic view of you, your life, and your wellness. The goal of Mindful-Mastery is to help you gain the self-awareness, understanding, and skills you need to be successful on the road of life. Mindful-Mastery is a personal road-map and instruction manual for getting where you want to go! Your Mind-Body... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The “Passengers on the bus” metaphor was developed by Steven Hayes, who developed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). It is so useful for thinking about our internal experience (versus external), I use it from session 1 with clients. So, I will share it here......Imagine your life is like a bus. You are the driver of this bus. From the moment... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Is Your Quarter-Life Crisis Fueled by Uncertainty Intolerance? “But I’m not sure!” “What if?” “I don’t know if it’s good enough.” Feelings of uncertainty and doubt come part and parcel with building a life you love. Yet it’s so easy to get hijacked by the anxiety and worry, when we don’t know for sure. We can get paralyzed by the F.O.T.U. Fear Of The Unknown! The Quarter-Life Crisis and FOTU Recent... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Monday, July 14, 2014
We have all heard that depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders have an important “biological component.” But what does biological mean? A common misconception is that “biological” means “immutable” or “permanent.” In this blog, I would like to talk a bit about the bi-directional influence of biology and our mind-body vehicles. First, the... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Monday, January 11, 2016
You know that moment when the thought crosses your mind, or someone asks you, “Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?” Part of you has a momentary thought about the things you would like to change this year. But your mind, and your answer quickly go to “Resolutions don’t work. So why set them?” After prior years of disappointment, your mind... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Thursday, June 18, 2015
We tend to overlook, or minimize, the role of self care on our mental health resilience. When I first began my psychology studies, the idea that one's health habits could influence the psycho-biological substrates of emotion was considered fringe and radical. But research is now conclusive, you have way more influence on your own biology than... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Tuesday, December 17, 2013
The Castle in the Village Metaphor: A simple picture of common relationship dynamics As we negotiate the often tumultuous, landscape of relationships (finding them, beginning them, maintaining them, and sometimes ending them) many psychology theorists have noted a common dynamic. A pattern of interaction seems to occur over and over in some people... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Mental Health Labels: Getting Beyond Stigma Diagnostic labels are helpful as a shorthand way of communicating what one is experiencing. But I wonder; might they also contribute to keeping us stuck and maintaining the larger societal stigma? Instead of focusing on labels, perhaps we need to encourage a language that speaks to the continuum of normal human psychology and the underlying... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Strategies are the things we do to minimize discomfort and obtain or hold on to pleasure. Short-term strategies are those that bring immediate gratification. Long-term strategies are those that bring longer, more enduring rewards, but require some discomfort in the short term. When short-term strategies are more prevalent than long-term, we... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Thursday, February 2, 2017
psychological flexibility  I have the words of Bob Dylan floating through my mind these days….. This past week client after client has plopped themselves on my couch, called for skills coaching, or submitted home practice related to the vast changes our world is observing. “What now?” “I’m scared!” “We’re on a slippery slope to doom,” is the tone of what I am hearing. Yep... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Wednesday, April 1, 2015
More good feelings -- less bad ones. All humans want to feel good and avoid feeling bad as much as possible. But over time we can loose our willingness to experience the later in the service of the former. When people come to my practice for help, it is usually, and understandably, with the aim of feeling better. When I ask what their goal is... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Success oriented culture prioritizes independence and self sufficiency as the optimal state of functioning. In an effort to be successful, we often buy into this belief full stop. But neuroscience is now showing us what our experience already did. Social connectedness, belonging, is as essential as any core need, and increasingly so for success in... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Mind Habits can be just as problematicHabits are not just behaviors. We can also fall into particular patterns of thinking, which hold us stuck in emotion driven behavior. Knowing your particular mind habits can help you to monitor when you have moved from productive and helpful aspects, to the counter productive. As noted in the last blog, How to Hack Your Habits, habits become... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Wednesday, June 18, 2014
  The role of emotions and why we have them. Most people who come to skills training are looking for ways to increase positive emotions, and decrease the negative ones. Human beings, by design, want to feel good, and get rid of emotions that feel bad. But here's the deal, our system did not develop so that we can say, "Yeah, I don't really do... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Monday, March 7, 2016
Finding True North: Your Source of Caring and Motivation  There’s a theme that tends to come up in my office when clients hit an impasse or feel stuck… “It shouldn’t be this hard! It feels like it’s not going to happen for me.” “I don’t know what to do, how it will go, which way to turn!” “Why is it so easy for everyone else?” Have you ever heard yourself say or think some version of this? In the age... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Your Body-Mind Vehicle: Connecting Mind-Heart-Feet A good way to think about your journey through life is to think of yourself as a vehicle. There are lots of different kinds of vehicles of coarse. Some can go really fast, but they are not very good at going off road, taking the bumps, or hauling heavy loads. Others are great for heavy lifting... Read More